Alibaba’s membership of the International Anti-Counterfeit Coalition has been suspended, following accusations of conflicts of interest and complaints from other member brands.
In response to its suspension by the IACC, Alibaba said on Wednesday that they will still work to crack down on counterfeit goods and work to protect intellectual property rights.
In a statement over Weibo on Wednesday, Alibaba said that neither the open letter by the IACC, nor the withdrawal of several IACC members in protest of e-commerce companies like Alibaba will shake their determination to fight fakes.
The IACC is the world’s largest nonprofit anti-counterfeit organization, founded in 1979. It admitted Alibaba into the body on April 13, but several luxury brands, including Gucci and Michael Kors, withdrew their membership shortly after, saying Alibaba has not done enough to rid their e-commerce platforms of fakes.
Alibaba said that they have been in cooperation with organizations, government agencies and IACC member companies to protect intellectual property rights. Alibaba stressed its role in fighting against counterfeit products, saying that it “meant to bring benefits to other member companies in joining the IACC”, and that it is to the detriment of the e-commerce industry that the IACC suspended Alibaba’s membership.
Alibaba appealed in a statement that “the IACC should welcome new trends and technologies with an open mind for the overall interest of its member companies, in spite of the anti-counterfeit body’s internal political struggles, and competing interests of individual firms”.
On May 13, the IACC released an open letter in response to an anonymous letter that claimed that President Bob Barchiesi owned shares in Alibaba. IACC then decided to suspend the membership of Alibaba.
Alibaba has been long criticized for the merchants selling counterfeit products on its e-commerce platforms. According to a random inspection by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, for the second half of 2014, 62.75% of the products on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao were counterfeits.
“Alibaba loses up to five users for each fake product sold on our trading platforms,” the founder of Alibaba Jack Ma said to the media in October 2015.
“Fake goods are like germs in the air. The right way to deal with this problem is to first accept it and then defeat it.”
(Top photo from blog.sina.com.cn)