WSJ:  Fake Goods on Alibaba Hurt U.S. Small Businesses

09 Mar 2017
by David Jannetta
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Alibaba: “It’s a brand’s responsibility to protect its own brand.”

IP Lasso: We can help.

A recent Wall Street Journal article noted Alibaba’s Taobao was reinstated on a list of notorious marketplaces for fakes in December due in part to “the challenges right holders experience in removing and preventing illicit sales and offers of such goods,” said the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, which maintains the list.

The USTR, in its December report, said Taobao’s expedited takedown program “reportedly remains out of reach,” especially for small- and medium-size businesses, because of stringent eligibility requirements. To be eligible, brands must submit 100 takedown requests over a three-month period from Taobao and have a 90% accuracy ratio, according to Alibaba.

Highlights from the article:

Unlike some e-commerce platforms such as eBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., Alibaba doesn’t necessarily automatically remove listings reported as problematic, instead conducting an investigation, a process that brands say can take days or weeks.

Amazon.com and eBay say they typically take brands’ words and remove reported listings within a day, putting the onus on the seller to prove to the platforms that the goods are authentic. “The majority of infringing listings are taken down within hours,” an eBay representative said. Amazon said suspected counterfeit items are removed “as soon as we become aware of them.”

While fakes exist on any e-commerce platform, the problem is “minuscule” on other sites compared with Alibaba’s Taobao market, according to Dean Arnold, the Shanghai-based director of the Intellectual Property Group, which works with brands to fight counterfeits.

An Alibaba spokesman said that while the e-commerce company is responsible for taking down counterfeit listings when notified, “it’s a brand’s responsibility to protect its own brand.”

Mr. Arnold of the Intellectual Property Group said many entrepreneurs don’t have designated personnel to deal with counterfeit goods, nor an understanding of regulatory processes in China, said.

This is why IP Lasso began monitoring these hard good sites for our clients. If you are curious as to how your brand is represented on Taobao or on any of the other 40+ marketplaces we monitor, get in touch with us here.

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