Alibaba win civil case against fake cat food seller

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Alibaba have announced that a seller accused of selling counterfeit cat food on their marketplace has been found guilty.

The defendant has been ordered to pay Alibaba Taobao marketplace RMB 120,000 in damages (somewhat less than the RMB 2.67 million they sued for but the case is significant nonetheless.

The arrest came as the result of a joint investigation between Alibaba and Mars which owns “Royal Canin” cat food brand in question. In the lawsuit, Taobao said the defendant had broken several of the trading platform’s regulations prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise, which caused reputational damage to the platform.

Alibaba has two other ongoing cases, one against a seller accused of selling fake Swarovski watches and a merchant selling fake Wuliangye spirits (a popular Chinese liquor brand). They are now even more confident they’ll win these cases.

“Winning the first lawsuit has made Alibaba more confident in our crackdown on counterfeit merchants. We plan to put all the proceeds we receive [from lawsuits] to a special fund dedicated to protecting and compensating our consumers.”
– Jessie Junfang Zheng, Alibaba group’s Chief Platform Governance Officer

Alibaba’s Jack Ma is determined to stamp out fake goods on the marketplace and has called on the Chinese government to address the issue. He is also calling for stiffer sentences pointing out that of 4,495 suspected counterfeit sellers detected in 2016, only about 30 cases were indicted by Chinese law enforcement authorities with just 46 sellers were placed on probation.

This is crucial for the success of Alibaba in the long term as Chinese consumers are increasingly insistent on authentic goods, hence their willingness to purchase from British brands.

“If, for example, we imposed a seven-day prison sentence for every fake product sold, the world would look very different both in terms of intellectual property enforcement and food and drug safety, as well as our ability to foster innovation.”
– Jack Ma, Alibaba

Alibaba filed the civil cases in addition to criminal actions brought by Chinese law enforcement agencies in the three cases cited above in an effort to combat counterfeiting and instil confidence in the marketplace.

One Response

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