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How to report and remove a counterfeit from Alibaba
How To's
6 mins

How to report and remove a counterfeit from Alibaba

Table of Contents:

    Alibaba has come a long way in providing techniques to report and remove counterfeit products, but intellectual property, copyright, and trademark infringement issues still come up with sellers on the site. We’ll go through the steps you need to take to report a counterfeit on Alibaba and Aliexpress and get it removed from the ecommerce site.

    In this 2 parts guide, we will share critical insights to support small and medium businesses to address the growing counterfeits problem. 

    Table of contents:

    Summary:

    • Brands should start by gathering the correct information to register with Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform
    • Rights holders can then register the IP with Alibaba and submit a complaint
    • If complaints happen often enough, a brand can use the Good Faith Mechanism for an expedited process

    The good news is that you’ll only have to follow some of these steps once. When you already have a profile set up and have registered the IP with Alibaba, you’ll just need to collect infringing links and file infringement complaints.

    Alibaba’s counterfeit policy

    Alibaba prohibits any listings that feature counterfeits or other unauthorized items, expressly saying on their website that they are committed to the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). Alibaba themselves also conduct random searches of company profiles, checking product details, names, and any other information. If they suspect an infringement, the product listing will subsequently be rejected or deleted altogether. 

    Alibaba operates its own penalty points system that it hands out depending on the type and gravity of the infringement. The penalty points system is as follows:

    Trademark infringements

    • For a serious violation, whereby similar or identical trademarks to that of the registered trademark holder are used in an unauthorized manner on products and packaging, leads to membership termination after three violations.
    • For other trademark complaints, no penalty points will be deducted for the first violation, but for subsequent violations six points will be deducted until membership termination at 48 penalty points.

    Copyright infringements

    • The unauthorized publishing, reproduction, sale, or offer of copyrighted products will result in a warning for the first violation, but for subsequent violations six points will be deducted until membership termination at 48 penalty points. Copyright infringements include selling products or packaging which is a reproduction of copyrighted materials, or the unauthorized use of copyrighted images on the Product Detail Page, for example.

    Patent infringements

    • Alibaba looks at these on a case-by-case basis. If the infringement is very serious, then three violations will be all it takes before the account and membership is removed.
    • If the infringement is classed as “general,” this generally constitutes the sale or offer of products incorporating patented work through their design, invention, and so on. Similarly to copyright and trademark infringements, the first violation will result in a warning, while the rest will receive six penalty points each until 48 penalty points leads to membership termination.

    Red Points Anti Counterfeit Solution

    How to remove a counterfeit on Alibaba

    It’s possible to get a counterfeit removed on Alibaba by making sure you have the correct documentation and file the complaint according to Alibaba’s Intellectual Property Protection Platform. 

    However, counterfeit products can number in their thousands, and detecting counterfeit products and correctly reporting them to Alibaba can quickly become a never ending task, and impossibly huge task. In this instance, getting a Counterfeit Protection Solution is your best, most cost- and time-efficient means of wiping out scammers counterfeiting your products. 

    If you’re a small business and the counterfeit appears to be a one-off, however, then manually reporting them to Alibaba is your best option.  

    Step 1: Gather documentation

    It can be alarming and frustrating to find a fake product on Alibaba or Aliexpress. But don’t rush into filing an infringement complaint without the proper documentation. If you don’t supply the right information from your end, the complaint could be delayed or denied.

    To remove fake products from Alibaba, you’ll need to provide a few pieces of information. Individuals will need to upload a copy of their national ID card or passport. A certificate of incorporation works to prove the identity of an organization.

    Next, you’ll need to prove you or your company owns the IP, so make sure you have that ready before you set up a profile. That can include trademarks, copyrights, patents, and supporting documentation.

    Finally, you’ll need to have links and screenshots ready to support your IP, copyright or trademark infringement claims on Alibaba.

    Step 2: Register with Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform

    Once you have the right information, the next step is to register an account with the Alibaba Group IP Protection Platform (which used to be called AliProtect). You can visit the homepage here.

    To set up a profile, you’ll need to provide basic information on your company. You’ll then need to verify the identity of each rightsholder with ID cards, passports, or business certificates.

    Step 3: Register the IPR with the Protection Platform

    Once inside your profile in the Protection Platform, head to the left-hand icon called “My IPR.” You can then register your intellectual property rights with Alibaba. Register all corresponding documentation including trademarks, patents, and copyrights. You’ll need to enter the following information:

    • Place or region of intellectual property registration
    • Type of IPR
    • Validity period
    • Registration certificate

    It’s important to be as thorough in this step as possible. Different types of intellectual property rights will require different information and supporting documents. For a trademark, you’ll have to input the name, registration number, registrant, expiration date, class of goods, and the name of the related brand. You should also upload more documentation if the trademark has been renewed, assigned, or modified.

    If an authorized agent is working on behalf of the company, they will also need to upload documents that support their identity, such as a power of attorney.

    After you’ve uploaded the correct documentation, you can submit the IP registration for verification. You can track the status of registrations in Alibaba in “IPR Management” under My IPR. If for some reason registration is denied, you can investigate the reason and provide more documentation in that area.

    Be aware that each trademark, copyright, and patent for each product requires individual verifications. Alibaba usually takes up to three days to verify new accounts. A new account is only considered complete and ready for verification when it has documentation for at least one IPR owner and one IPR.

    Step 4: How to report an infringement on Alibaba

    Once verified, brands can start to file IP, trademark, or copyright complaints on infringing products on Alibaba and Aliexpress. Here are the steps for submitting an infringement complaint on Alibaba:

    • Choose an Alibaba Group URL on which to enforce the IPR (Taobao.com, Tmall.com, Tmall Global, 1688.com, Alibaba.com, AliExpress, or Lazada)
    • Choose the type of IPR to enforce and select a corresponding IPR in your account
    • Select either “product listing” or “storefront” enforcement type (storefront enforcements on Alibaba and AliExpress require submission by direct email)
    • Choose a reason for the enforcement
    • Paste URLs of infringing products or search for infringing listings via keywords (depending on the group site)
    • Provide supporting proof of the infringement like a description, comparison photo, or supporting document
    • Click submit

    What happens after you report an infringement

    Under “Complaint submission” you can click “Manage complaints” to view the status of each infringement complaint. The seller in question has some time to respond to the complaint. If the seller or storefront doesn’t reply to the original complaint within three days, Alibaba will automatically remove listings with fake or infringed products down and uphold the complaint.

    It’s important to register for Alibaba’s Protection Platform with an email address that you or your company checks regularly. Sellers may respond to complaints with counter-notifications, and if you don’t accept or reject these in a timely manner, the takedown request will be dropped and the listing reinstated.

    How to deal with hundreds of infringements at once (with Red Points)

    Monitoring Alibaba and Aliexpress listings for fake products as well as copyright, trademark, and patent infringement is a time-consuming job that scales along with a company’s growth. Let Red Points’ Anti Counterfeiting Solution automate IPR protection and takedown requests so your company can focus on moving forward.

    Monitoring

    Counterfeits can pop up at any time and on any marketplace. As soon as you’ve managed to take one counterfeit down, another may have popped up unbeknownst to you somewhere else. Red Points Anti Counterfeiting solution scans marketplaces and websites for counterfeits every hour. 

    You can keep an eye on the constantly updating statistics on your Red Points dashboard.

    Detection

    Next, Red Points will use image recognition technology to scan photos for identical or similar trademarks and patents to those of your brand. With in-built machine learning abilities, Red Points will get better and better at pinpointing counterfeits of your brand. 

    In the below image, (1) demonstrates just how many counterfeit alerts and infringements can appear for one brand alone. This panel will also give you incidents to evaluate, while (2) analyzes the different platforms counterfeiters are using.

    Validation & Prioritization

    You can set up automation rules so that Red Points knows what to do when it comes across counterfeits on the web. Red Points will also group results into categories, such as tasks which you need to attend to (1), and high risk incidents (2) so you can prioritize what you need to pay attention to.  

    Enforcement

    Red Points will automatically request takedowns of content or profiles that violate your brands IP, and keep track of these enforcements.

    Reporting

    You can review how much revenue you are recovering with Red Points Anti-Counterfeit solution on your dashboard. You can also use the data that Red Points has accumulated to help you make strategic brand decisions. All of these results can also be exported.

    What’s next

    While Alibaba is making a big effort in helping companies keep their IP safe, unfortunately it’s difficult to avoid counterfeiters altogether. Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform helps to streamline the process of reporting counterfeits on the website. It is however still a tedious and long-winded process – and that’s just to report one counterfeit. 


    Often, companies can experience hundreds, if not thousands, of counterfeit listings of their branded products on the web, in which case automated software is the most effective solution. Red Points Anti-Counterfeit Solution is a straightforward mechanism that uses machine learning to recognize trademark, copyright, and patent infringements on ecommerce sites, and get them taken down.

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