US e-commerce platforms “far behind” Alibaba on anti-counterfeiting efforts, US subcommittee hears
E-commerce platforms in the US have much catching up to do when it comes to preventing counterfeit activities, compared to platforms such as Alibaba, according to a US congressional hearing on counterfeiting and trademarks.
At a recent round table with brand owners and platforms, “we learned Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting policies and programs are significantly more effective than any of their US counterparts,” said Doug Collins, a Republican congressman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, in an opening statement at the hearing last week. “I find it shocking US platforms are so far behind.”
In Alibaba's 2018 annual report on intellectual property rights protection, the company said that 96 per cent of listings that it removed proactively took place before a single sale took place.
In a statement submitted for the hearing, International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) president Robert Barchiesi – who was serving as a witness – said that the IACC has been “greatly pleased by the progress Alibaba has shown during the past five years”, pointing out that the company has been responsive to concerns from stakeholders and proactively enforced measures while using platform data to work with law enforcement to tackle counterfeiting offline.
Alibaba, together with companies like Amazon and Walmart, have also directly engaged with members of the Toy Association to help reduce the number of unsafe counterfeit toys on their e-commerce platforms, said Rebecca Mond, who was representing the association at the hearing.
Alibaba, which operates the popular Taobao and Tmall e-commerce marketplaces in China, has been under scrutiny since at least 2015 as brands accused the company of allowing the proliferation of fake goods on its platforms. Alibaba owns the Post.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative put Taobao on its “notorious markets” list in 2016. Currently, other marketplaces named on the list include Shanghai-based Pinduoduo and SEA’s Shopee platform in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The same year, Alibaba’s membership in the IACC was suspended after less than a month after it joined the group, following the departure of brands like Gucci and Michael Kors that protested Alibaba’s membership.
In 2017, Alibaba set up the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Association (AACA) to work with brands and stakeholders, implementing technology and data-driven initiatives to weed out counterfeit product listings on its platforms, such as the use of artificial intelligence to identify and take down suspicious listings.
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