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Alibaba Sues Sellers over Alleged Counterfeits

Alibaba Group has filed with Shenzhen Longgang District People’s Court a lawsuit against two (allegedly) fake Swarovski watch sellers on Taobao platform, claiming RMB1.4 million in damages for contract and goodwill violations.

It is the first ever legal action taken by an ecommerce platform in China against counterfeiters. And it won’t be the last as the Group has already compiled a list of counterfeiters against whom it will take similar actions. Last month, the company took a brushing operator to court suing it for RMB2.16 million yuan in damages.

“We want to mete out to counterfeiters the punishment they deserve in order to protect brand owners. We will bring the full force of the law to bear on these counterfeiters so as to deter others from engaging in this crime wherever they are,” said Zheng Junfang, Chief Platform Governance Officer of Alibaba Group.

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With the help of big-data technology, Alibaba’s platform governance team detected a Taobao merchant suspected of selling fake Swarovski watches. The team then initiated its “test-buy purchase program” to buy a Swarovski watch, which was later confirmed by the right holder Swarovski to be a counterfeit.

As a result of the leads provided by Alibaba, the Shenzhen Luohu District police raided the seller on August 10, 2016 and confiscated over 125 (allegedly) counterfeit Swarovski watches, valuing nearly RMB2 million. Another fake Swarovski seller on Taobao was founded related to the case during the action.

“We take a holistic and technology-driven approach to IPR-enforcement,” said Matthew Bassiur, Alibaba’s head of global intellectual property enforcement. “Big-data analytics enhance our ability to identify and pursue counterfeiters, and make it increasingly difficult for these illicit sellers to hide in the shadows.”

Alibaba has spared no expense and manpower to invest in the Platform Governance Department since its launch in 2015. That year Alibaba spent over RMB150 million on test-buy purchase program to spot check the products on its platform. Today, the department boasts a roster of some 7,000 employees and volunteers in their fight against counterfeiting.

Source: Alibaba Press Release

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Send news tips to

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