After finding itself once again on The Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) 2017 “Notorious Markets” list for alleged violations of intellectual property (IP) rights, China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, fired back today, countering that it was “doing more to protect brands and rights holders than any e-commerce company in the world.”
Responding to the designation, Alibaba Group president Michael Evans said that that “the choice made today by the USTR to disregard our progress is entirely counterproductive.” He added that, “the deep irony is that, while the Notorious Markets process is supposed to be a tool to incentivize IP enforcement, today’s decision removes that incentive by proving that USTR’s decisions are no longer driven by the strength of a company’s IP protection system.”
The “2017 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” lists the biggest intellectual property rights offenders – both physical and online – on a worldwide basis, and Alibaba has once again found itself on the list.
Alibaba says that it has made it even easier for rights holders to access and use the company’s IP protection programs.
Evans said that, “while we grew the number of rights holders registered for the program by 11 percent, year-over-year, the number of takedown requests declined by 25 percent, y-o-y, as a direct result of our ability to remove infringing listings before they make it to our marketplaces.”
Alibaba Group’s president said that 98 percent of Alibaba’s “proactive takedowns” were removed before any sales were made, and 97 percent of all takedown requests were handled within 24 hours. Alibaba also said that it has provided leads to law enforcement that resulted in more than 1,000 arrests and the closure of nearly 1,000 offline manufacturing and distribution locations.
Evans argued that Alibaba’s efforts actually put it at the forefront of IP rights protection, concluding that, “it’s clear that no matter how much action we take and progress we make, the USTR is not actually interested in seeing tangible results.”