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Luxury brand owner sues Alibaba over counterfeit goods

Paris-based Kering, which owns luxury goods brands including Gucci, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, has filed a lawsuit seeking damages and an injunction for alleged violations of trademark and racketeering laws from Chinese online giant Alibaba, according to Reuters18 May 2015

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, alleged that Alibaba had conspired to manufacture, offer for sale and traffic in counterfeit products bearing Kering trademarks without Kering's permission, Reuters said.

Kering confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed.

"Kering … takes the protection of its world-famous brands very seriously. It takes equally seriously its obligation to protect its customers from being defrauded by counterfeiters selling goods of inferior quality. This lawsuit is part of Kering’s ongoing global effort to maintain its customers’ trust in its genuine products and to continue to develop the creative works and talents in its brands," a Kering spokesperson told Out-Law.com.

Kering withdrew a previous complaint in August 2014, saying in a statement at the time that "after constructive dialogue between Kering and Alibaba, [Kering] withdrew all claims against the Alibaba defendants without prejudice, and Kering and Alibaba have agreed to work together in good faith through the normal business process on ways to enhance intellectual property protection in a manner that can further reduce counterfeiting of Kering brands."

However, this has not been successful, the spokesperson said.

Kering, pronounced 'caring', was known as PPR until a name change in 2013. This was the fourth name change for the company, according to Business of Fashion. It has previously been known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and before that as Pinault-Printemps and Pinault SA.