Chinese online marketplace Alibaba Group has launched an intellectual property (IP) platform, aimed at improving communication between the company and its partner brands in relation to the challenge of preventing the selling of counterfeit goods.

Dubbed 'IP Joint-Force System', the new tool aims to build greater and more collaborative working relationships with brands around the world as Alibaba ramps up its fight against counterfeits and IP infringement. 

All participating brands in the existing "Good Faith Takedown" programme, which was launched in 2015 to expedite the notice-takedown process for brands that submit valid counterfeit complaints, will be eligible for the new IP Joint-Force System. Some 700 brands participate in this initiative, including Adidas, Apple, Procter & Gamble, Mars and Philips.

There are over a billion products listed across Alibaba's marketplaces at any given time, and more than 120 million infringing product listings were taken down in 2015 using the group's own analytics and fraud detection systems. Alibaba said that this figure represented eight times the number of counterfeit products removed based on takedown requests from its partner brands, which would suggest the marketplace is proactive in it work to clamp down on fake goods appearing on its web pages.

How does IP Joint-Force System work?

  • Each participating brand will be assigned a dedicated online portal and Alibaba account manager to enhance collaboration and transparency around IP enforcement.
  • Alibaba can directly seek information from rights holders regarding suspected counterfeit product listings, which as a third-party marketplace it is unable to authenticate on its own with full certainty. 
  • The system allows brands to identify the authenticity of a product and notify Alibaba of the infringing listing. Once identified, Alibaba will initiate the Good Faith Takedown process and immediately remove the listing without required subsequent correspondence with the brand.
  • Alibaba is confident that the two-way communication stream will improve the speed and accuracy with which it is able to determine the authenticity of a product.

Matthew Bassiur, head of global IP enforcement at Alibaba Group, commented: "The IP Joint-Force System is a revolutionary industry solution that will redefine how IP enforcement is conducted in the digital age – where brands and eCommerce marketplaces must work collectively and strategically to combat counterfeiters,

"This is one of several game-changing approaches that Alibaba will be advancing to both simplify and greatly enhance our overall enforcement process." 

On Friday, Alibaba held its inaugural Rights Holders Collaboration Summit for international brands and the IP enforcement community, with the aim of bringing multiple parties together in the fight against IP infringement.

More than 100 domestic Chinese and international brands and trade associations attended the event, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Apple, Mars, Hewlett Packard, the Chinese British Business Council and the Quality Brand Protection Committee.

Jessie Zheng, chief platform governance officer at Alibaba Group, remarked: "Ecommerce has become a way of life for consumers both in China and around the world.

"As the internet sector continues to evolve, brands and online marketplaces alike face new IP enforcement challenges. As the leading online marketplace, we have a responsibility to all of our constituents to govern our platform and find innovative solutions."