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Alibaba Gets Real About Fakes

Alibaba Group is cracking down on counterfeit goods—again.

The Chinese company has introduced the IP Joint-Force System, an online platform designed to help track and remove fakes on its marketplaces. The program launched Friday at Alibaba’s first-ever Rights Holders Collaboration Summit.

“E-commerce 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,” Jessie Zheng, chief platform governance officer at Alibaba Group, said. “The Rights Holders Collaboration Summit and new IP Joint-Force System are some of the many ways Alibaba is working closely with rights holders in our efforts to eradicate counterfeits both online and offline.”

Here’s how it works. Each participant will be assigned a dedicated online portal and Alibaba account manager. This will create a two-way communication stream. Rights holders can then notify Alibaba of an infringing listing, which the company will immediately remove.

“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 e-commerce marketplaces must work collectively and strategically to combat counterfeiters,” Matthew Bassiur, head of global IP enforcement at Alibaba Group, said. “This is one of several game-changing approaches that Alibaba will be advancing to both simplify and greatly enhance our overall enforcement process.”

Two months ago, Alibaba was kicked out of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) after several members voiced concern about its reputation for selling fakes.

But Alibaba insisted it’s changed. More than 120 million infringing product listings were reportedly removed from its marketplaces in 2015—8x the number of takedowns requested by brands through its existing “Good Faith Takedown” program.

More than 100 Chinese and international brands and trade associations attended Friday’s event, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Apple, among others.