Alibaba Group has filed a lawsuit against two fake Swarovski watch sellers on its Taobao platform, claiming RMB1.4 million in damages for contract and goodwill violations.
With the help of big-data technology, Alibaba’s platform governance team detected a Taobao merchant suspected of selling fake Swarovski watches. The team then initiated its “test-buy purchase program” to buy a Swarovski watch, which was later confirmed by Swarovski to be a counterfeit product.
As a result of the leads provided by Alibaba, the Shenzhen Luohu District police raided the seller on August 10, 2016 and confiscated over 125 counterfeit Swarovski watches, valuing nearly RMB2 million. Another fake Swarovski seller on Taobao was founded related to the case during the action.
“We take a holistic and technology-driven approach to IPR-enforcement,” said Matthew Bassiur, Alibaba’s head of global intellectual property enforcement. “Big-data analytics enhance our ability to identify and pursue counterfeiters, and make it increasingly difficult for these illicit sellers to hide in the shadows.”
It is the first legal action taken by an e-commerce platform in China against counterfeiters. And it won’t be the last as the Group has already compiled a list of counterfeiters against whom it will take similar actions. Last month, the company took a brushing operator to court suing it for RMB2.16 million yuan in damages.
“We want to mete out to counterfeiters the punishment they deserve in order to protect brand owners. We will bring the full force of the law to bear on these counterfeiters so as to deter others from engaging in this crime wherever they are,” said Zheng Junfang, chief platform governance officer of Alibaba Group.
Alibaba has invested in the Platform Governance Department since its launch in 2015. The Chinese e-commerce platform has spent over RMB150 million on test-buy purchase program to spot check the products on its platform. Today, the department has a roster of some 7,000 employees and volunteers in its stance against selling counterfeit goods online.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited is a Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals. It also provides electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services. The group began in 1999 when Jack Ma founded the website Alibaba.com, a business-to-business portal to connect Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers.