Once again, the French luxury goods maker Kering Group has dragged Alibaba Group to court. Kering has filed a lawsuit against Alibaba in New York, accusing the Chinese company of aiding the sales of fake versions of its branded items on Alibaba’s platforms. The French giant owns luxury brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Puma, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta and Alexander McQueen.
It’s Kering’s second lawsuit against Alibaba
Kering had filed a similar lawsuit against the Chinese online retail giant last year. But the French company withdrew the suit within weeks after “constructive dialogue” with the Chinese giant. Looks like that constructive dialogue did not prove successful for Kering. In its latest filing, Kering said that Alibaba and its affiliates “knowingly encourage, assist, and profit from the sale of counterfeits on their online platforms.”
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The Paris-based firm said the lawsuit was part of its efforts to maintain “customers’ trust in its genuine products.” The lawsuit charges Alibaba with counterfeiting, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, false representation, racketeering by marketing, and processing payments for counterfeit versions of its premium products.
Alibaba responds to Kering’s ‘wasteful litigation’
In response, an Alibaba spokesman said that Kering Group chose the path of “wasteful litigation” rather than constructive cooperation. “We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously,” said the Chinese firm. Rampant sales of fake goods on Alibaba’s platforms has hurt the Chinese company’s credibility. Alibaba founder Jack Ma has called counterfeits a “cancer” for the e-commerce giant.
Earlier this year, China’s State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) criticized Alibaba in a report. The state regulator accused the Hangzhou-based company of turning a blind eye to the sale of counterfeit goods. Alibaba has assured the quality watchdog of fighting fakes. The company claims to have removed more 90 million fake listings from its platforms. In March, Alibaba also closed 26 sellers accounts for bribing its staff. Dealing with counterfeits is still an uphill battle for the company.