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Alibaba announces anti-counterfeiting partnership with major brands

Alibaba will work with international brands including Louis Vuitton, Samsung and Mars to use technology to fight counterfeiting, it has said. 19 Jan 2017

The Alibaba Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance has around 20 members, and will "bring together industry and technical know-how" to help keep fake products off of Alibaba's e-commerce platforms, the Chinese e-commerce giant said.

"The most powerful weapon against counterfeiting today is data and analytics, and the only way we can win this war is to unite," Alibaba’s chief platform officer, Jessie Zheng said. "With our robust data capabilities, we are confident the alliance will accelerate the digital transformation in our global fight against counterfeits."

"This alliance will allow us to put to use some of the most powerful technologies available in the battle against counterfeit goods," said Sam Shen, a director at direct-selling company Amway, which is a member of the alliance. "Already Alibaba has delivered significant results in tracking down IP violators, and we look forward to working with them and the rest of the members to continue that effort."

Alibaba’s anti-counterfeiting technologies scan as many as 10 million product listings a day, the company said. In the year to August 2016 the company removed more than 380 million product listings and closed down 180,000 third-party seller stores, it said.

The announcement follows news earlier this month that Alibaba is suing two vendors who sold fake Swarovski watches on its Taobao platform in what it said is the first instance of an e-commerce platform taking a counterfeiter to court in China.

The company used its own data to identify counterfeit products and to locate the vendors, it said, and "mystery shopping" to surreptitiously buy the products. Swarovski staff then examined the quality, workmanship and packaging of the samples, it said.

Police went on to seize 125 fake Swarovski watches and two counterfeit Swarovski official seals, with an estimated total value of 200 million yuan (£24 million), Alibaba said.

Alibaba appointed anti-counterfeiting expert Matthew Bassiur at the end of 2015 to lead a team working with international brands and retail partners, industry associations, government regulators and law enforcement organisations to fight counterfeiting.

Bassiur joined from Pfizer where he oversaw counterfeiting operations, Alibaba said. He previously worked for Apple as senior director for IPR enforcement, and as a federal prosecutor in the computer crime and intellectual property section of the US Department of Justice.