On Tuesday, the two announced the creation of the IACC MarketSafe Expansion program, set to launch later this year—news that came on the heels of Gucci America and Michael Kors quitting the IACC following last month’s shock disclosure that Alibaba had joined its ranks.
The Chinese e-commerce company, dubbed a “dangerous and damaging adversary” by Michael Kors, first began working with the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit in 2013 in order to develop MarketSafe. According to the IACC, they created the program in recognition that the problem of counterfeiting was too complex for any single company or industry to combat on its own. Thus, MarketSafe was a collaboration to help the coalition’s members identify and take down infringing listings on Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces via an expedited removal procedure.
The success of the program—which has reportedly resulted in nearly 5,000 sellers’ storefronts closing and being permanently banned from Alibaba’s marketplaces, as well as the removal of more than 180,000 infringing product listings—drove the IACC and e-commerce company to expand.
The new program will be available to both members and non-members, no matter their size, and will be free of charge. It will also shift the burden of proof away from the brands and over to the sellers; brands will not be required to provide evidence in support of their complaints.
“This program exemplifies the tangible and mutual success that can be achieved when brands, trade associations, governments and intermediaries work together to combat counterfeiting,” Matthew Bassiur, vice president and head of global IP enforcement at Alibaba Group, said in a statement. “Alibaba and the IACC, together with the rest of industry, have a shared interest in building a safe and trusted internet environment and marketplace for consumers, rights holders and sellers.”
“The IACC and Alibaba have a proven, successful partnership that is now being expanded with significant contribution and commitment from both parties,” Bob Barchiesi, president of the IACC, continued. “Collaboration across industries is key to addressing the issue of counterfeiting at a broader level, and this is one of the first steps towards the IACC’s goal of creating a holistic model for tackling online counterfeiting around the world.”