4 August 2017Trademarks

Kering dismisses Alibaba suit, forms IP task force

Luxury group Kering has agreed to form an IP alliance with Alibaba, after dismissing a lawsuit against the e-commerce platform.

The parties, which also include Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial Services, announced yesterday, August 3, that they had come to a “groundbreaking agreement to cooperate in their efforts to protect IP”.

The task force’s mission is to collaborate and exchange useful information with law enforcement bodies to take action against infringers of Kering’s brands.

“This agreement reflects the parties’ firm belief that taking proactive measures and using advanced technology will help law enforcement bodies and other relevant authorities address the challenges of IP infringement,” said the parties in a statement.

As part of the agreement, Kering has dismissed its lawsuit against Alibaba and Alipay, an Ant Financial subsidiary, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In May 2015, sister site TBO reported that Kering had accused Alibaba of “wilfully” selling counterfeit items.

“Alibaba facilitates and encourages the sale of an enormous number of counterfeit products through its self-described ‘ecosystem’, which provides manufacturers, sellers, and buyers of counterfeit goods with a marketplace for such goods,” Kering added.

One year later, in May 2016, luxury brand Gucci terminated its membership with the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), in what was an alleged protest at Alibaba joining one of the organisation’s new membership categories.

The IACC then suspended Alibaba from its membership, following the exit of luxury brands including Tiffany and Michael Kors and after concerns were raised about Alibaba’s governance.

Alibaba has called for tougher laws, stricter enforcement and stiffer penalties to crack down on fakes in recent months.

“Current regulations are no longer able to cope with the need to fight counterfeiting. Criminals can escape any legal consequence, leaving law enforcement agencies and consumers feeling helpless and society bearing the damage,” said the e-commerce platform.

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