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Alibaba cracks down on counterfeiters


Alibaba has appointed Matthew Bassiur to eliminate the sale of counterfeit goods on its ecommerce platforms.

Bassiur formerly helped tech giant Apple track the sale of fake iPhones as well as copyright infringers ‘selling’ the global brand. With Alibaba’s operations expanding to encompass more and more international and diverse items, it is a crucial time to root out fake goods. Commencing in January, Bassiur will oversee Alibaba’s intellectual property protection from New York.

“Matthew’s appointment is the latest step in Alibaba Group’s comprehensive and industry leading efforts to fight counterfeits,” said Alibaba’s co-founder Jack Ma. “Counterfeiting is a problem that challenges all forms of distribution, whether in e-commerce or offline retail. We will continue to be relentless in our long-term commitment to protect both consumers and intellectual property rights owners, and we call on all companies in our industry to join our fight against bad actors.”

Despite astonishing sales in November, brought about by ‘Singles Day’, Alibaba has had some hurdles to cross this year. $50m was wiped from the value of its US listed shares following lawsuits and criticisms from regulators in both the US and China. According to the US Office of the Trade Representative, Alibaba’s biggest flaw is a lack of transparency and tardiness in addressing problems.

Bassiur is the former Pfizer Inc. Vice President and Computer Crimes Prosecutor at the US Department of Justice. He also taught IP law at Beijing’s Renmin University, and as such has a “deep familiarity”, according to Alibaba.

“Matthew makes a great addition to the Alibaba team,” said President of Alibaba Group Michael Evans, who Bassiur will be reporting to directly. “His expertise in IP rights protection, policy creation and enforcement, as well as his deep familiarity with China, will complement our dedicated IPR enforcement team in China and help us to continue to globalize as a company, working with our brand, industry and government partners worldwide.”

Published on Monday 21 December by Philip Gallagher

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