The suit, filed by Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and other brands owned by Kering, alleges that Alibaba conspired to manufacture, offer for sale and traffic in counterfeit products bearing the brands’ trademarks without their permission, according to Reuters.
Alibaba has flat-out denied the allegations, saying in an email response to FN that the complaints have “no basis.”
“We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so,” a spokesperson for Alibaba said in the email. “Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation.”
The lawsuit follows a series of complaints against Alibaba filed by the American Apparel & Footwear Association last month with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission as well as the United States Trade Representative, also alleging counterfeit activity, particularly on Alibaba’s Taobao website.
“This lawsuit underscores the growing concern that there is a systematic problem of counterfeits on the Taobao website — the very issue the AAFA called attention to last month in its letters to the SEC and USTR,” the AAFA told FN in an email today. “For years, our members have encountered counterfeits on the Taobao platform, and while we’ve tried to work with Alibaba to develop a process to identify and take down counterfeits, the response by the company has been slow and sluggish.”
The AAFA went on to say that the organization is “not surprised to hear that others are experiencing the same problem.”
“It’s a problem that Alibaba itself has acknowledged it wants to address, yet the issue persists,” said the AAFA.
Meanwhile, the Chinese e-commerce behemoth continues to assert that it is taking adequate measures to combat the sale of counterfeit goods
“We believe [Kering’s] complaint has no basis, and we will fight it vigorously,” said a spokesperson for Alibaba.