Just one month after it said it was working to tackle the issue of fake goods being sold on its websites, Alibaba is being sued by Kering for allegations that it encourages and profits from the sale of counterfeit goods on its platform.
In a lawsuit filed on Friday Kering, the luxury goods group that houses brands including Gucci and Saint Laurent, claims that Alibaba is complicit in the sale of fake items on its marketplace sites. According to a copy of the filing its related companies “knowingly encourage, assist, and profit from the sale of counterfeits on their online platforms…[and] make it possible for an army of counterfeiters to sell their illegal wares throughout the world.”
Paris-based Kering is suing on behalf of its brands Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta, citing in the complaint that the services Alibaba provides to its marketplace customers actively encourage buyers to search for fraudulent goods.
“The Alibaba defendants facilitate and encourage the sale of an enormous number of counterfeit products through their self-described ‘ecosystem’, which provides manufacturers, sellers, and buyers of counterfeit goods with a marketplace for such goods, and provides online marketing, credit card processing, financing, and shipping services that effectuate the sale of the counterfeit products,” lawyers on behalf of the company wrote in the complaint.
Alibaba denied the claim riposting: “We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so. Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive co-operation. We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously.”
This is the second time the conglomerate has hit at Alibaba, having filed an identical law suit last July, only to retract it shortly after “constructive dialogue” with the e-commerce giant.
“Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation,” said an Alibaba spokesperson. “We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously.”