22 May 2018Trademarks

Alibaba reports 42% drop in IP takedown requests

Alibaba Group has reported that IP owners filed 42% fewer notice and takedown requests in 2017 compared to the previous year.

In its “Intellectual Property Rights Protection Annual Report” for 2017, released yesterday, May 20, the company said the fall resulted from “proactive efforts to identify and remove potentially problematic listings”.

It added that the decline is particularly striking given the 17% increase in accounts registered through Alibaba’s IP Protection (IPP) Platform during 2017.

The company also reported on offline achievements, saying it supported Chinese police in 23 provinces and cities in efforts to crack down on the sale of counterfeit or inferior quality goods. Alibaba referred 1,910 leads to law enforcement authorities that helped in the arrest of 1,606 suspects and the closure of 1,328 facilities, it added.

Giving a case study, the report said that after six months of investigation last year, the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Special Task Force assisted police in dismantling the largest-known Louis Vuitton counterfeit ring “in recent years”.

The company also reported that since mid-2017, it has processed 95% of takedown requests within 24 hours—a 68% fall compared to 2016.

Alibaba’s chief platform governance officer, Jessie Zheng, said Alibaba wants to collaborate with all stakeholders—including rights owners, trade associations and law enforcement—to keep leading the “best practice in IP protection”.

The news comes two weeks after Alibaba announced that the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Association (AACA), which provides a forum for coordinating offline investigations and referrals to law enforcement, now has 105 companies on board. The AACA was created in January 2017 with 30 members, including Adidas, Honda and Samsung.

Despite the positive reports, Alibaba is still encountering difficulties on the IP front.

In November last year, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) announced it had opened an investigation into Alibaba regarding the importation of containers for cooling beverages. The complaint was filed by Yeti Coolers, a Texas-based manufacturer of outdoor lifestyle products.

According to the ITC, the investigation is ongoing and an evidentiary hearing has been scheduled for July 2018.

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