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Alibaba suspended from anti-counterfeit group amid conflict claims

Alibaba has reportedly been suspended from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Organsiation (IACC) because of claims that the chairman of the group holds shares in Alibaba.

Alibaba’s IACC membership has been short-lived thus far but fraught with controversy, after Gucci, Michael Kors and Tiffany announced they would leave the group in protest of the Chinese retailers involvement.

According to a report in the Guardian, several links have been made between IACC president Robert Barchiesi and Alibaba, including that he owns shares in the business.

The IACC said the oversight was due to poor governance practices, rather than Barchesi’s “inaction”.

According to the report, Alibaba has said that it will continue to collaborate with the industry on anti-counterfeiting efforts, “whether or not we are a member of the IACC”.

The news came very soon after Alibaba Group director and president Michael Evans wrote a blog piece, defending its right to be part of the group and outlining the efforts the company was making to stamp out fake goods on its marketplaces.

He hit out at certain people in the IP protection industry causing bad PR in order to stifle progress.

“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.

It is not yet known when a decision will be made about Alibaba’s membership but an independent firm will be hired by the IACC to assess its governance issues.

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