August, 2017

Alibaba introduces 'upgrades' to IP protection platform

Original article: Alizila

At its Brand Rights Holders Day last week Alibaba announced a number of "enhancements" to its Intellectual Property Protection Platform (IPP), notably a dedicated website for takedown requests across all of its marketplaces. 

In the month since the soft launch of the enhanced platform, the company said it processed most IP-related takedown requests from brands and rights holders within 24 hours thanks to new data-modeling technology. 83% of the requests resulted in takedowns, while 17% were declined - either because evidence was unable to prove infringement "or a mismatch between the complained listing and IP documents filed."

Brand trust is core to our mission,” said Jessie Zheng, Alibaba’s chief platform governance officer, in a press release. “Our enhanced platform and express processing of listing takedowns within 24 hours, along with significant progress in other important initiatives all showcase the industry best practices Alibaba is creating for the benefit and trust of all our stakeholders.”


It's indisputable that Alibaba is moving - belatedly - to curb counterfeiting on its platforms. But let's keep in mind what it took to get the company to become so proactive in the battle against IP thieves - the embarrassment of seeing Taobao return to the U.S.'s Notorious Markets blacklist last December. 

Some of the quotes in the Alizila press release make Alibaba sound like it's been a champion of IP protection all along. Jessica Guo, senior legal manager at sporting goods company Spalding was quoted as saying that "As a long-standing partner of Alibaba's, I am impressed with the technology upgrades to the platform we saw today, and appreciate Alibaba’s openness about its processes and willingness to seek our input on how to better work together. As a brand, I learned a lot, which instills our continued trust in Alibaba to protect our IP." 

Joan Porta, online brand protection manager at Red Points, said: "Having someone you can talk to, bring your problems to and get effective responses from, Alibaba is clearly in a top position among marketplaces.”

2017 may go down in Alibaba's history as the year the company began to take public relations seriously. Perhaps it's a sign that the e-commerce titan is ready at last to go global. And if that's the case, it can thank the U.S. for giving it a friendly push. Indeed, if Taobao hadn't been put back on the Notorious Markets blacklist, Jack Ma might still be lecturing audiences about how the quality of fakes is sometimes better than genuine products.