Alibaba Expands Global Brand Alliance to Fight Fakes

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Apple Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. are among 75 new members of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s alliance against counterfeiting, an issue that’s put the Chinese e-commerce giant in the U.S. Trade Representative’s crosshairs for two years running.

The new additions bring total membership in Alibaba’s alliance to 105. Alibaba launched the coalition with 30 global brands in January 2017 to collaborate on keeping counterfeit goods off its platforms.

“Brands share IPR and other related insights about their products—enabling us to leverage our proprietary, cutting edge technology and algorithms to root out and deter bad actors,” Alibaba Senior Vice President Michael Yao said in the company’s May 7 statement. “The speed of the group’s expansion reflects the trust these large major global brands have in Alibaba and what we are doing.”

Alibaba has appeared since 2016 on a U.S. government watchlist highlighting markets linked to counterfeit goods. That has led it to rebuke the USTR, blaming politics for its inclusion on the list and arguing that it’s actually exceeded the trade representative’s recommendations for reducing fake goods on its platforms.

The alliance enables Alibaba and brands to work together, using big data, artificial intelligence, and other anti-counterfeiting technologies to identify and proactively remove counterfeit goods.  Alibaba said it has divided the alliance’s members into 12 industry working groups, each of which will seek solutions to problems specific to their sectors.

Alibaba also said it upgraded its online portal that allows rightsholders to share data and report counterfeits. The upgrade will allow for faster navigation and a better user experience, the company said.