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Monday, May 18, 2015, 15:52

Alibaba denies luxury group's counterfeit claim

By Dai Tian

Alibaba has never produced any fake goods and the complaint accusing the company of knowingly selling counterfeits has no basis, said a spokesman of the e-commerce behemoth on Monday.

The response came after Kering SA, owner of a group of luxury brands, including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, filed a lawsuit against Alibaba Group, alleging that it had conspired to manufacture, sell and traffic in counterfeit products bearing their trademarks without permission.

The case was filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, with the Paris-based company seeking damages and an injunction for alleged violations of trademark and racketeering laws, according to Reuters.

"Alibaba Group has been working in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and has a strong track record of doing so. Unfortunately, Kering Group chose litigation one-sidedly instead of resolving the matter through constructive cooperation," said the company in a statement.

"The accusation has no basis and we reserve rights to subsequent legal action," added the statement.

It is the second time in 12 months that Kering has brought the case after the luxury brand owner withdrew the last one under an agreement to work together on the issue.

Concerns over fake goods on Alibaba's platforms, including Taobao, have plagued the company for years, as the e-commerce giant announced in January that it had created a special task force of 300 to fight counterfeit products.

The company had spent more than 1 billion yuan (US$160.7million) fighting against knockoffs in the past two year, said Alibaba in an earlier statement, adding that it had worked with brand holders and tackled six million web links containing infringing items, assisting in more than 1,000 cases and the arrest of nearly 400 suspects.

Alibaba Group earlier reported better-than-expected first-quarter results. Gross merchandise value on China retail marketplaces jumped 40 percent to US$97billion, with revenue rising 45 percent to US$2.81billion.

The company is poised to overtake Walmart later this year as the world's biggest retail platform, said Daniel Zhang Yong, Alibaba's new chief executive officer, on May 14 during an internal meeting. It aims at achieving more than $1 trillion gross merchandise value in five years.

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