Alibaba defends its anti-counterfeit drive following Gucci and Michael Kors protest

Alibaba has come out in defense of its anti-counterfeiting efforts after a string of major brands, including Gucci and Michael Kors, abandoned their membership of the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) in protest of Alibaba becoming a member.

Tiffany has become the latest brand to distance itself from the organisation, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Alibaba Group director and president Michael Evans said in a blog post that collaboration is necessary to drive down fakes and blamed IP lawyers for creating a negative PR spin in order to make more money.

“We are part of the solution, and we will continue to cooperate with brands and industry associations, rather than resorting to unproductive tactics. Those who have a financial interest in IP litigation would rather pit the brands against Alibaba, using public relations tactics that are not in the interest of anyone except themselves.

We must focus on what we can do collaboratively as an industry, leveraging our combined experiences, expertise, and resources. Global problems demand global solutions,” he said.

The fake goods economy is big business and, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it accounts for 2.5 per cent of world trade, or roughly $461 billion.

The brands distanced themselves from the IACC to make a point about how much Alibaba has contributed to the issue of fake goods. Michael Kors sad that membership gives “cover to our most dangerous and damaging adversary”.

Many of the same brands are currently or have previously taken legal action with Alibaba about fake goods, with Gucci owners Kering Group still in courts with Alibaba for ‘assisting counterfeiters’.

Alibaba is making an effort to disprove such claims, with Evans’ post also attempting to highlight the initiatives the company has undertaken, including expanding the IACC MarketSafe scheme, using data to track down the source of the issues and working with authorities.

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