​Alibaba launches Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance

Samsung and Huawei are among those signed up to help Alibaba thwart the selling of counterfeit goods on its online platforms by using big data analytics.

Alibaba Group has announced a Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance that will use big data in a bid to end the sale of counterfeit goods on the ecommerce giant's online platform.

The company already has local heavyweights Huawei, as well as Samsung on board, with the 20 member-strong alliance receiving strong support from brands, trade associations, intellectual property experts, and regulators, in addition to support from government bodies and law enforcement agencies in China.

According to Jessie Zheng, Alibaba Group chief platform governance officer, the alliance aims to pool resources and increase collaboration to promote a safe and healthy global ecommerce ecosystem where brands are protected from "IP pirates".

In return, brands and other members of the alliance have committed to share their expertise on IP authentication and anti-counterfeiting data with Alibaba.

"The most powerful weapon against counterfeiting today is data and analytics, and the only way we can win this war is to unite," Zheng said.

"Alibaba welcomes brands and other organisations in the creation of the world's first Big Data Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance. With our robust data capabilities, we are confident the alliance will accelerate the digital transformation in our global fight against counterfeits."

Alibaba said it will provide alliance members with big data and advanced technological support in their IP enforcement work, including helping to block, screen, and take down infringing listings.

With more than 1 billion product listings across its platforms at any given time, Alibaba said its monitoring system scans more than 10 million product listings per day. In the 12 months ending August 2016, Alibaba said it removed more than 380 million product listings and closed down 180,000 third-party seller stores.

Earlier this month, Alibaba said it had sued two vendors for selling fake Swarovski watches on Taobao, marking the first time the company has taken legal action over counterfeit goods.

A lawsuit was filed in the Shenzend Longgang People's district court against sellers Liu Huajun and Wang Shenyi, asking for 1.4 million yuan for "violation of contract and goodwill".

At the time, Zheng said Alibaba would apply litigation in the hope that jail sentences and financial penalties would be a deterrence against the sale of fake goods.

"Selling counterfeits not only violates our service agreement, it also infringes on the intellectual property rights of the brand owner, puts inferior products in the hands of consumers, and ruins the hard-earned trust and reputation Alibaba has with our customers," she said, adding that Alibaba planned to take further legal action against e-tailers peddling counterfeit goods on its ecommerce platform.

Alibaba completed one of the biggest initial public offerings (IPO) in Nasdaq history in 2014, after spending a total of $160.7 million to remove fake products and enhance consumer protection.

In late 2015, Alibaba then created a new role as part of efforts to combat the selling of counterfeit goods under its nose, appointing Matthew Bassiur as vice president and head of global intellectual property enforcement.