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Luxury Brands Quit IACC Following Alibaba Membership

Some oft-faked designer brands aren’t happy about Alibaba’s latest endeavor.

Gucci America and Michael Kors have both quit the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to combating product counterfeiting and piracy, following last month’s announcement that Alibaba had joined its ranks.

According to a report by the Associated Press, Kering-owned Gucci—currently in the midst of legal proceedings against the Chinese e-commerce giant in New York federal court for selling fakes—was outraged by the news that Alibaba had become an IACC member. The brand was removed from the group’s website on Saturday.

Michael Kors responded in similar fashion, canceling its membership within days of the news, and describing Alibaba as the brand’s “most dangerous and damaging adversary.”

“Alibaba’s strategy has consistently been to provide lip service to supporting brand enforcement efforts, while doing as little as possible to impede the massive flow of counterfeit merchandise on its platforms,” Lee Sporn, general counsel for Michael Kors, wrote in a letter sent to the IACC, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

But the IACC has said it’s standing by its decision to welcome Alibaba into the fold, stressing that the group is integral to the fight against fakes.

Alibaba first began working with the anti-counterfeiting group in 2013 in order to develop MarketSafe, a collaboration to help the coalition’s members identify and take down infringing listings on the company’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces via an expedited removal procedure.

The company has claimed that since the launch of the program, the initiative has resulted in a 100 percent take-down rate when brands stand behind their claims. It also said that nearly 5,000 sellers’ store fronts have been shuttered for selling infringing products and permanently banned from the Taobao and Tmall platforms, and that more than 160,000 infringing product listings have been removed.

“Having Alibaba as a member will help enrich the ongoing dialogue among IACC members and enable us to come up with better ways to tackle counterfeiting worldwide,” Bob Barchiesi, IACC president, said in a recent press release.

IACC has more than 250 members, including Calvin Klein, Burberry, Coach and Ralph Lauren, to name four.