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Alibaba goes after counterfeiters by hiring former Apple investigator

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has hired Matthew Bassiur as vice president, head of global intellectual property enforcement, to lead its team that is dedicated to anti-counterfeiting and IP protection efforts.

The former Apple and Pfizer security officer will work with international brands and retail partners, industry associations, government regulators and law enforcement to limit the amount of IP infringements carried out on the online marketplace.

The move comes after Alibaba was warned that it narrowly missed being added to a U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Notorious Markets list of e-commerce sites to be targeted for counterfeit goods.

The hire is significant as Alibaba Group, of which Yahoo holds a 15 per cent stake, is building its global efforts and trust in the brand will be key to its success. According to the group, in the latest quarter ended 30 September 2015, Alibaba had 386 million annual active shoppers on its China retail marketplace platforms, an increase of 19 million from the prior quarter.

Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said: "Counterfeiting is a problem that challenges all forms of distribution, whether in e-commerce or offline retail. We will continue to be relentless in our long-term commitment to protect both consumers and intellectual property rights owners, and we call on all companies in our industry to join our fight against bad actors."

At Pfizer Bassiur was vice president and deputy chief security officer and at Apple he oversaw an investigative program into complex thefts, frauds, leaks, threats and cyber-related crimes, as well as developing and implementing Apple's anti-counterfeiting program.