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Special Report
Alibaba Tightened Crackdown on Piracy

 By purchasing shares of Sina microblogging and investing in AMAP, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (Alibaba Group), China's biggest e-commerce company, recently expands its business greatly. At the same time, it speeds up its process of intellectual property (IP) protection.


     Alibaba Group strengthened its cooperation with the Ministry of Public Security as well as the State Intellectual Property Office and other law enforcement departments in an activity of tackling counterfeiting problems, protecting IPRs, and creating a sound environment for e-commerce. By establishing IP protection system platform online and working with government agencies off-line, Alibaba Group made significant achievements in cracking down on IPR infringement and counterfeit goods, and built its commercial credit system. Meanwhile, it signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Economic Crime Investigation Department of the Ministry of Public Security to enhance IP protection.

     "Since Taobao was founded 10 years ago, what I feel most painful is that consumers bought fake goods and sellers' rights were infringed," Ma Yun, Alababa's chairman said at his last news conference before he stepped down as CEO, who expressed that the thing he felt worried about was not Alibaba Group's future market but its IP protection. As far as he was concerned, he would be surely regretful if he did not do well in fighting counterfeits. "The cooperation with government agencies is the most effective measure to anti-counterfeiting , and Alibaba Group will spend ‘as much as it can' to fight against counterfeit and shoddy goods on its e-commerce websites," said him.

     To build IP protection system

     According to Alibaba Group chief risk officer Shao Xiaofeng, Taobao has established mechanisms of machine and professional team inspections, ect., as well as a transparent platform for consumers to protect their rights since it was founded. Up to now, there are more than two thousand staffs responsible for protecting IPRs, and strengthen the management through simpling inspection, ect. In 2012, Alibaba Group opened the IP protection system platform, on which right holders could report links and other evidence involving IP infringement, and the listings would be removed as long as they were verified. The platform greatly boosts the efficiency of IP protection, with more than 94 million infringing listings removed and 950,000 members punished last year.

     In June, 2012, an anti-piracy alliance signed a memorandum of cooperation with Taobao in strengthening copyright protection. In 2012, the alliance and Taobao published 4,556 online shops involving infringement. With their joint efforts, more than 900 shops were closed, and more than 90,000 infringing listings were removed, involving a total value of more than 30 million yuan.

     To work with government agencies

     Though there are fewer infringing listings in Taobao through years of effort, only power from one part to solve the problem of IP protection of e-commerce is not enough. "As a platform for e-commerce, we can discover and remove infringing listings via technology and data. However, we feel our power is limited in fighting against IP infringement." Shao Xiaofeng said Alibaba Group then began to cooperate with government agencies in recent years.

       Based on the online clue and a series of investigations, Alibaba Group, in cooperation with China's law enforcement departments, cracked down on many bases of fake products, and assisted Adidas, Jack Jones as well as Yishion in fighting counterfeiting from 2010. In 2011, Taobao provided the public security organs with more than 400 clues to counterfeiting. Meanwhile, it actively participated in the special campaign against counterfeiting and shoddy goods launched by Hangzhou police, during which more than 80 suspects were detained and 11 criminal gangs were busted. In 2012, the clues Alibaba Group supplied to police involved 72 brands with a total value of 170 million yuan, and 324 suspects and 43 gangs were seized eventually.

      In the future, the police, as well as the industry and commerce administrations, etc. will promote a long-term, in-depth and fruitful cooperation with Alibaba Group. Shao Xiaofeng expressed that Alibaba Group would also do its utmost to boost the cooperation in order to further crack down on counterfeit and shoddy goods.


(China IP News)

All China Patent Agents Association