Alibaba Sues Seller of Allegedly Fake Cat Food

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By Alexis Kramer

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has sued a seller of allegedly counterfeit Mars cat food on its TaoBao e-commerce platform, the company announced March 8 ( Taobao.com v. Yao, Shanghai Fengxian District People’s Ct, complaint filed 3/3/17).

The Chinese e-commerce giant said on its website that it is seeking 2.67 million yuan ($387,000) for alleged violations of its platform’s rules. Alibaba filed suit against an individual surnamed Yao in the Shanghai Fengxian District People’s Court, the company said.

The lawsuit is the second Alibaba has filed in its continuing fight against fake goods. Alibaba filed suit in January against sellers of allegedly counterfeit Swarovski watches. The lawsuits came after the U.S. Trade Representative restored Alibaba to its annual “Notorious Markets” list for counterfeit goods last December.

Alibaba brought the latest lawsuit four days after publicly urging the Chinese government to strengthen law enforcement efforts and impose tougher sanctions on counterfeiters.

“The current legal penalty on counterfeiting in China is too light to deter counterfeiters from manufacturing and selling fake goods to pursue huge profits,” Jessie Zheng, Alibaba’s chief platform governance officer, said in a March 8 statement. “While waiting for the criminal procedure, we determined to take the civil action to increase the illegal cost.”

In addition to monetary damages, Alibaba seeks a court order requiring Yao to publish a written apology in several well-known publications for one week, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Kramer in Washington at aKramer@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

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