Judge dis­misses part of Alibaba law­suit


A US judge on Thurs­day dis­missed part of a law­suit filed last year by Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other lux­ury brands ac­cus­ing Chi­nese e-com­merce com­pany Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd of pro­mot­ing the sale of coun­ter­feit goods.

US District Judge Kevin Cas­tel in Man­hat­tan dis­missed rack­e­teer­ing claims as­serted by brands owned by Paris-based Ker­ing SA, say­ing their com­plaint failed to al­lege facts that could sus­tain those claims.

The law­suit claimed Alibaba and 14 com­pa­nies sell­ing coun­ter­feit goods on its on­line mar­ket­places joined to form an en­ter­prise that sought to profit from items such as a knock-off Gucci hand­bag that sold for $18.99 rather than $1,250.

Cas­tel ruled the law­suit failed to al­lege the ex­is­tence of such an en­ter­prise un­der fed­eral rack­e­teer­ing law as it did not es­tab­lish the mer­chants were aware of each other or that Alibaba could have agreed to carry out ac­tions with them.

“The fraud per­pe­trated by each mer­chant de­fen­dant could be ac­com­plished with­out any as­sis­tance from any other mer­chant de­fen­dant,” he said.

The rul­ing did not af­fect var­i­ous other trade­mark-re­lated claims in the law­suit against Alibaba, which had not at this time sought to dis­miss the other parts of the law­suit. Alibaba in a state­ment said that it was pleased with the court’s de­ci­sion.

Ker­ing did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Alibaba has been dogged for years by al­le­ga­tions that its on­line shopping sites are rid­dled with fake or oth­er­wise copy­right-in­fring­ing goods.

The com­pany has said that it is con­stantly im­prov­ing its mon­i­tor­ing and en­force­ment of rules against coun­ter­feits.

The case is Gucci Amer­ica Inc et al v. Alibaba Group Hold­ings Ltd et al, US District Court, South­ern District of New York, No. 15-03784.


Peo­ple visit the booth of Alibaba Group dur­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion in Bei­jing in 2015.

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