Re­tailer ex­its anti-coun­ter­feit group

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS -

Gucci Amer­ica has quit the In­ter­na­tional Anti-Coun­ter­feit­ing Coali­tion, the sec­ond de­fec­tion since the Wash­ing­ton DC-based group al­lowed Chi­nese e-commerce gi­ant Alibaba to be­come a mem­ber in April.

Michael Kors walked out of the IACC last month, call­ing Alibaba “our most dan­ger­ous and dam­ag­ing ad­ver­sary.”

The out­rage over Alibaba’s mem­ber­ship raises fresh ques­tions about how ef­fec­tive Alibaba has been in fight­ing fakes as it pushes to take its e-commerce jug­ger­naut global. It has also al­lowed the deep loathing some har­bour for one of China’s global champions to burst into view.

Gucci, along with other Ker­ing Group brands like Ba­len­ci­aga, is su­ing Alibaba in New York Fed­eral Court. They ac­cuse Alibaba of know­ingly en­cour­ag­ing and prof­it­ing from the sale of coun­ter­feit goods on its e-commerce plat­forms. Alibaba has dis­missed the suit as “waste­ful lit­i­ga­tion.”

By yes­ter­day, Gucci’s name had been struck from the IACC’s web­site. “They were not happy about Alibaba join­ing,” said IACC vice-pres­i­dent Candice Li-Uzoigwe. She said that Gucci in­formed the group of its de­ci­sion to leave on Wed­nes­day.

“The IACC stands by its de­ci­sion and is com­mit­ted to lean into the fu­ture and lead a coali­tion of the will­ing,” IACC pres­i­dent Robert Barchiesi said yes­ter­day. “Whether it’s pay­ment pro­ces­sors or online mar­ket­places, the choice is clear, they must be an in­te­gral part of the so­lu­tion.”

Alibaba’s mem­ber­ship falls into a spe­cial cat­e­gory, with­out lead­er­ship po­si­tions and vot­ing rights. Barchiesi said that it was cre­ated in re­sponse to eBay’s re­quest for mem­ber­ship. eBay ul­ti­mately did not join the coali­tion. Alibaba said IACC mem­ber­ship would al­low it to work more closely and ef­fec­tively with brands to proac­tively en­force in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights.

The IACC has over 250 mem­bers, in­clud­ing Ap­ple, Cisco Sys­tems and Chanel. Gucci did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

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