Richemont joins Alibaba’s IP alliance on brand protection

Global luxury group Richemont has joined the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance, a partnership between the e-commerce giant and brands that works to protect intellectual property rights on Alibaba’s platforms.

Geneva, Switzerland-based Richemont is now among the 115 members from 16 countries and regions that are a part of the IP alliance, as well as the latest from the luxury sector to partner with the e-commerce giant on brand protection. Richemont said it would share its technology, expertise and other information to support the Alliance’s efforts.

Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert (left) and Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang in Hangzhou during the launch of their joint venture on Oct. 26.

Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert (left) and Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang in Hangzhou during the launch of their joint venture on Oct. 26.

Richemont owns 17 luxury brands, including Cartier, Montblanc, Piaget, Van Cleef & Arpels, Watchfinder & Co and Chloe, in addition to Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, the online retail platform. YNAP runs four different websites — Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter, lifestyle-goods destination YOOX and affordable-fashion seller The Outnet — as well as online flagship stores for leading fashion brands, such as Armani, Moncler and Valentino.

The announcement comes a month after Alibaba and YNAP partnered to bring the site’s high-end goods to Chinese consumers. A joint venture between Alibaba and YNAP will launch a mobile app for the Net-A-Porter platform and menswear site Mr Porter, in addition to opening flagship stores for Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, a channel that connects premier brands with China’s digital-first consumers.

Richemont, along with New Balance, General Motors and McDonald’s, were the latest global brands to join the AACA. The alliance’s membership has more than tripled from the original 30 founding brands at its launch last year, and now includes  names, such as Bose, Canada Goose, Honda, Samsung, Mars, Adobe, Danone, Hasbro and L’Oreal, in 12 industry categories. They work with Alibaba in six key areas — proactive online monitoring and protection, a product test-buy program, offline investigations and enforcement actions, industry-law enforcement workshops, litigation tactics and public awareness campaigns — in the fight against IP infringement.

In September last year, the AACA established an advisory board so that brands could provide feedback to Alibaba in areas related to IP enforcement. Alibaba has since upgraded its Intellectual Property Protection Portal as well, delivering faster navigation and a better user experience on the site, where rights holders report suspected infringing listing and share information with Alibaba. In addition, Alibaba’s Good Faith program, which is open to brands with a track record of accurate notice and takedown filings, has streamlined the reporting process.

The IP alliance does not restrict its brand-protection efforts to the online space. Alibaba and its brand partners also work to find and eliminate fakes at their source. In the luxury sector, Alibaba and Louis Vuitton – one of the first members of AACA – conducted an offline investigation that resulted in the seizure in May of approximately RMB 100 million ($14.4 million) worth of counterfeit goods.

“The protection of intellectual property rights requires all stakeholders to work closely together and share their expertise. The AACA will continue its efforts to establish industry best practices for IP protection by creating effective collaboration among brands, platforms and law enforcement,” said Michael Yao, Alibaba’s senior VP and head of Brand Protection and Cooperation.

* Alizila is the independent (but Alibaba-funded) source of news on Alibaba Group activities.

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