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January 6, 2017

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Alibaba sues Taobao vendors over fakes

CHINESE e-commerce giant Alibaba has filed a lawsuit against two vendors for allegedly selling counterfeit goods, it said, weeks after the United States put its main platform on its “notorious markets” blacklist.

Late last month the Office of the United States Trade Representative put online sales portal Taobao on the annual blacklist, saying it was not doing enough to curb sales of fake and pirated goods.

Although inclusion on the blacklist carries no penalties, it has dealt a blow to Alibaba’s reputation following the company’s efforts to improve its image and boost international sales.

The company, which has made founder Jack Ma China’s richest man, said it is suing two Taobao venders for 1.4 million yuan (US$200,000), accusing them of selling fake Swarovski watches on their portal in violation of the company’s services agreement.

“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,” said Jessie Zheng, Alibaba Group’s chief platform governance officer.

Alibaba and its Taobao site have long been accused of providing a platform for the sale of knockoff brand-name goods.

Items for sale even included what appear to be pirated copies of the book “Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built.” still available yesterday for under US$1.



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