Alibaba has issued a statement from president Michael Evans that says the company is “disappointed” by the United States Office of the Trade Representative’s (USTR) decision to place Taobao back on the ‘notorious markets’ list.
The list, compiled by members of the International Intellectual Property Alliance and the USTR, names online and physical markets that are responsible for large scale counterfeit goods and copyright infringement.
Alibaba’s Taobao was removed from the list four years ago but has been reinstated in the latest update of the list.
Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group, said: “We are very disappointed by the USTR’s decision to include Taobao on its ‘notorious markets’ list, which ignores the real work Alibaba has done against counterfeiters. In 2016 alone, we proactively removed more than double the number of infringing product listings than in 2015. It is therefore unreasonable for the USTR to have concluded that Alibaba is less effective in anti-counterfeiting than when it reviewed our efforts in 2015 and when it removed us from its list four years ago.”
It comes just days after Alibaba released the details of a report that it hoped would show how it was using data and technology to unearth counterfeit racquets in China.
Evans suggested in his statement that these were ignored and instead that results were influenced by politics.
“Our results speak for themselves. Unfortunately, the USTR’s decision leads us to question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate. Nevertheless, the decision sends the wrong message and is inconsistent with the effective collaborative approach we have taken with brands and governments around the world in our fight against counterfeiting,” he said.
Alibaba had come into controversy earlier this year when brands such as Gucci and Michael Kors abandoned their membership of the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) in protest of Alibaba becoming a member.
The company has, since then, been very vocal about its efforts to combat counterfeit goods and maintains that it is committed to working with the industry in the interest of brands.
“Despite this counterproductive action by the USTR, we remain fully committed to protecting the IP of rights holders, both through significant proactive measures and working with brand owners, to combat counterfeiting online and offline,” he concluded.