Alibaba sues two vendors for selling fake watches in China

Company - Himanshu Gill - Jan 05,2017

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alibaba sues two vendors for selling fake watches in china

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said it is suing two vendors for selling counterfeit goods, weeks after it was blacklisted by a US industry watchdog.

Alibaba is suing two vendors that sold fake Swarovski brand watches on its Taobao e-commerce platform and claims it to be the first such legal action in China. The vendors’ names were not revealed but the lawsuit claims 1.4 million yuan ($201,671) in damages, the company said.

Counterfeiters have created a lot of issues for Alibaba, owner of China’s biggest ecommerce platform, often triggering clashes with regulators at home and abroad. In 2015, it was sued by Gucci and other brands in the Paris-based Kering stable and, less around two weeks ago, it was again placed on the US government’s blacklist of “notorious markets” for allegedly selling counterfeit goods.

Alibaba had been taken off the notorious markets list four years ago, but US authorities said that the firm's online platform Taobao is still being used to sell vast numbers of fake goods.

The accused vendors were caught during a "test-buy purchase programme" where the watches they had sold were confirmed to be fake by Swarovski. Alibaba told that it had provided enough evidence to enable the Shenzhen Luohu District police to raid one seller in August 2016 and confiscate more than 125 fake Swarovski watches, valued at some 2 million yuan ($288,000).

Lawyers from Alibaba said that the move was long overdue and a necessary step had to be taken as criticism from regulators and manufacturers was growing — specifically from makers of luxury goods, which are regularly faked and sold in online marketplaces.

Alibaba also said that it would continue to hunt down counterfeiters and that it has already made a list of other suspected vendors who would face strict actions.

In May 2016, Alibaba was suspended by the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) watchdog over matters related to piracy.