Anti-counterfeiting group suspends Alibaba’s membership

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Washington, May 14 (IANS) The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC), dedicated to cracking down on piracy and counterfeit products, has suspended the membership of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba over numerous allegations it had knowingly promoted and profited from fake goods.

In a statement on Friday, the IACC announced the suspension of Alibaba, which joined the group in April, after concerns were expressed by other members, EFE news reported.

Italian high end fashion brand Gucci and New York designer Michael Kors quit the coalition in April following Alibaba’s membership, with Kors describing Alibaba as “our most dangerous and damaging adversary”.

Gucci and other brands belonging to its parent company French luxury group Kering, including Balenciaga, filed a lawsuit against Alibaba in a New York federal court last year.

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Kering companies accuse Alibaba of knowingly encouraging and profiting from counterfeits of their products that are marketed on Alibaba’s online portals, an allegation the Chinese company denies.

Alibaba’s suspension comes after media reports revealed that IACC president Robert Barchiesi owns shares in the Chinese firm, and although Friday’s statement did not confirm this it acknowledged Barchiesi did not report any “conflicts of interest” when Alibaba joined as a member.

Tensions arose last year between Alibaba and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce of China (SAIC), which accused the company of allowing the trade of many counterfeit and poor quality products.

The firm denied this and said it was impossible to fight the problem without help from authorities.

Both sides agreed that Alibaba must share its transactional data with Chinese quality supervision authorities, as the company cannot act against a company or individual who use its portals until there is a formal complaint by any user.

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