Alibaba’s three-pronged approach to battling counterfeits

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Alibaba are stepping up their zero-tolerance policy for counterfeit products in a bid to stop customers falling victims of fake items masquerading as genuine goods by using a three-pronged approach to battle infringing products.

A combination of ever-improving technologies and close partnerships with the brands selling on their shopping platforms helped to deliver record results for the Hangzhou-based company in the areas of proactive takedowns and successful removal requests, as well a decline in suspect listings.

Enhanced notice and takedown

Alibaba’s IPP Platform, which allows brands to submit online requests to protect their IPR, was upgraded in 2018 to give brands the ability to track the full complaint process and counter-notices submitted by merchants.

Alibaba expanded support to brands through increased telephone and email availability, as well as tutorials and other English-language educational resources within the IPP Platform, such as FAQs, case studies and video instructions.

Alibaba’s “Good Faith” takedown program, which makes it easier for rights holders with a strong track record of successful takedown requests to submit those requests, moved to automatic membership for qualified brands and further relaxed the requirements necessary to join. The two improvements helped to grow the program’s membership 44% year-on-year (YoY) as of October 2018.

Technology for proactive monitoring

Alibaba had already been using technologies such as image and semantic recognition algorithms, real-time monitoring and interception, bio-identification and algorithms to detect abnormal merchant behaviour as a way to fight infringing listings on its platforms.

In 2018, the company also started to analyse emotional and semantic patterns in comment fields of listings and negative consumer feedback to merchants as leads for further investigation; analysed user traffic and merchant transactions to detect suspicious activity; and used technologies, such as voice and semantic recognition algorithms and image and character recognition algorithms, to monitor the live streams to ensure that no counterfeit activity was taking place.

Work with law enforcement

Online counterfeiting sales are a reflection of offline counterfeiting activities,” Alibaba said.

In 2018, the company continued to complement their online governance with offline investigations. Engagement with law enforcement expanded to 31 provinces, regions and municipalities across China and provided 1,634 IP-related leads. This contributed to the arrest of 1,953 criminal suspects and the closure of 1,542 facilities involved in the manufacturing and distribution of illicit goods. The total value of these cases was estimated at RMB 7.9 billion.

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