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Alibaba announces boycott of IPR firms in ongoing battle against counterfeit activity on its sites

Alibaba group is working to eliminate counterfeit activity on its sites.

Alibaba is continuing its fight against counterfeit goods, announcing a boycott of firms that are abusing its intellectual property rights (IPR) complaint system.

An investigation by Alibaba found IPR agencies have been abusing the counterfeit notice and takedown system by providing malicious or false IPR complaints.

The retail giant announced it would cease processing IPR complaints lodged by Wangwei Technology and urged registered companies that are working with the firm to "immediately cease cooperation with the company".

Alibaba acknowledged that most IPR agents operate legitimately to protect the rights of brand owners, however, it said some were hired by brands for channel management and were using the system to price-fix and manipulate the sales channel for distributors.

Alibaba said false allegations, forged documents and trademark squatting accounted for over 20% of the total complaints processed by Alibaba’s Intellectual Property Protection Platform in 2016. It estimates this activity impacted 1 million merchants and cost them more than 107 million yuan.

The boycott is the latest move by the retail giant, which is trying to eliminate counterfeit goods on its sites.

Alibaba stepped up its efforts to fight counterfeit activity after the retail giant was included in the US ‘notorious markets’ list, which highlights marketplaces responsible for large-scale copyright infringement.

In January, the retail giant launched the Big Data Anti-Counterfeit Alliance, an industry initiative using big data to curb counterfeit activity. The initiative is supported by brands such as Louis Vuitton, Samsung, Mars and Huawei, as well as anti-counterfeit experts and trade bodies.

Alibaba’s big data helped the retailer take legal action against counterfeit Swarovski sellers on Taobao earlier this year.

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