Just days after Alibaba managed to avoid being named in the US government’s Notorious Markets List, the company has hired Matthew Bassiur as chief of global intellectual property enforcement. Alibaba announced Monday that Bassiur will lead the e-commerce giant’s “industry-leading anti-counterfeiting efforts” starting January 2016. He will be reporting directly to the company president Michael Evans, a Goldman Sachs veteran who joined the online retailer in August this year.
Alibaba also hires lobbying firm Duberstein Group
Prior to joining the Chinese online retailer, Bassiur served as the VP and Deputy Chief Security Officer at Pfizer for four years. Before that, he was Senior Director, Global Security & Counsel for IPR Enforcement at Apple. During his two-year stint at Apple, he headed the company’s investigative program into fraud, theft, cybercrime, leaks and threats. He had also taught Intellectual Property Law at Renmin University in Beijing under the Fulbright program.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma described Bassiur’s appointment as an important part of the company’s “relentless” commitment to fight against knock-offs. The Hangzhou-based company also confirmed that it had hired the Washington DC-based lobbying firm Duberstein Group for representation on fake goods. The Chinese company had lobbied hard in the US to avoid being named in the Notorious Markets List.
Entering 2016 with knock-off reputation
Last week, the US Trade Representative (USTR) warned Alibaba that its activities would be monitored over the next year for signs of improvement. The company’s Taobao marketplace and Alibaba.com both were previously blacklisted. But Alibaba.com was removed from the list in 2011 and Toabao in 2012 after the online retailer made some efforts to work with intellectual property owners to clean up the sites.
Fake goods remain a major problem for the Jack Ma-led company. Alibaba is expanding its business in Europe and some Asian markets. Shedding its reputation as a platform for knock-offs is critical for the company to appeal to buyers outside China. Jack Ma said in October that his company itself was a victim of counterfeiting, and every e-commerce company in the world faces this problem.