Alibaba Group is a major player in the ecommerce space and currently owns some of the leading Chinese marketplaces including Alibaba.com (B2B), Taobao (C2C), and Tmall (B2C). Across all its platforms the company currently has 726 million of active users as of 2020. As it opens many doors for retailers to scale up their online business, it has led to counterfeiters jumping in the bandwagon.
In this 2 parts guide, we will share critical insights to support small and medium businesses address the growing counterfeits problem.
So if you are being targeted by bad actors on Alibaba, make sure to check out the first part of this guide for a step by step guide on how to remove a counterfeit from Alibaba.
Table of contents:
The internet has truly revolutionized the way in which consumers research and purchase goods. The average consumer can now access a vast spectrum of producers, distributors and 3rd party sellers from across the globe. Nowhere has this dramatic change of landscape been more pronounced than in the rising economies of Asia, China in particular. Ecommerce has opened up the Chinese market to western brands in ways that were not previously possible without heavy capital investment.
However, new platforms have also opened the floodgates to IP infringing products, designs and vendors selling counterfeit versions of branded products. This even extends to online shops using brand names to sell products that are not affiliated with the brand in any way.
Given the sheer number of counterfeits we detect on Alibaba sites. Here at Red Points, we feel that giving businesses the information required to report and request the removal of IP infringing products will be particularly useful. This guide works on the principle that you have found an item that infringes on your IP rights and wish to have it removed.
China’s intellectual property rights are not dissimilar to Europe’s, this includes the protection of patents, copyrighted material and trademarks. In regards to online IP infringements; if your Intellectual Property (IP) appears on a website and is being used without your permission, then you have the right to have it removed. To do this you would be expected to provide evidence that you are the rights holder and generally if the online service provider completes your «takedown request» and either deletes or blocks access to the content, then they are no longer liable for compensation.
In cases where the website or online service provider were aware of the IP infringement and did nothing or did not act on your removal request, then they, and the individual or entity that uploaded the IP infringing material, will both be liable.
Alibaba Group currently owns five online shopping platforms: Alibaba, Aliexpress, Taobao, TMall and 1688. It is against their IP protection policy to list replica or counterfeit products that infringe on IP rights. However, despite this, brands continue to detect a high number of counterfeits on the sites. The good news is that due to continued pressure from brands, Alibaba group has created «take down request» tools. These platforms or tools aim to make it easier to have IP infringing material and products removed.
In response to demand from IP rights owners, the group has introduced the Alibaba IP Protection Platform. Available in 7 languages, this service gives companies the power to enforce their IP protection and allows IP rights owners to file «take requests» in all 5 platforms directly, quickly and efficiently.
There is no cost for registration or use of the service, however you will need to accept a disclaimer which states that the owner of the IP rights will not hold Alibaba Group accountable for any damages caused by an IP infringement.
In order to participate in the program, trademarks and patents should be registered in China, although Alibaba and Aliexpress will accept IP rights registered outwith China. It is generally faster and more likely to be successful if you have the correct Chinese trademark documents. Many companies register their products in China, regardless of whether they operate in the country or not, due to the high level of counterfeiting on the sites.
If you have further questions, you can take a look at the SME Support Center, where you can find a set of answers to common questions and tips to improve your complaint effectiveness.
If you file a certain number of complaints in a certain period of time, your company may qualify for Alibaba’s Good Faith Mechanism. Specifically, at least 100 complaints in the last three months need to have been filed with a 90% successful takedown rate.
This program speeds up the whole process and is useful for brands with a large online assortment. It simplifies requirements for the burden of proof and gives priority to takedown requests.