On Friday, Gucci, Puma, Saint Laurent and other luxury goods makers filed a lawsuit against Alibaba Group with a federal court from New York for facilitating transactions of counterfeit items world wide through its online platform.
According to the lawsuit, Alibaba.com, which is misleadingly called the “Amazon of China,” allowed counterfeit items of the famous brands to be sold at meager prices on its on-line platform.
So, plaintiffs are currently seeking damages and a court order that would prohibit the online giant to commercialize the products. Although no sum was disclosed, damages may include $2 for every fake item sold.
Gucci, Saint Laurent and Puma are owned by France-based Kering SA, which holds other famous luxury brands in its portfolio such as Christopher Kane, McQ, Dodo and many others. Kering claims that nearly all the brands it owns were counterfeited by Chinese manufacturers and listed on Alibaba for wholesale.
According to court papers, Alibaba is accused of “conspiring” to manufacture and “trafficking” fake products that misleadingly bore the famous brands’ names without their owner’s permission.
Bob Christie form Alibaba Group recently said that the company was committed to protect luxury goods makers from intellectual property theft as its “strong track record” showed.
“Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation,”
Mr. Christie continued and vowed that his company would fight the company “vigorously” as it lacked any basis.
Yet, this is not the first counterfeiting lawsuit against the Chinese online giant. Kering’s brands filed another lawsuit less than a year ago, but it dropped any charges after a secret agreement and a resolution from the defendant that it would fix things up.
Moreover, Taobao, one of the online marketplaces that currently operates under Alibaba Group’s umbrella, have managed to fly under the radar for years and dodge lawsuits over the counterfeit products it sold online.
However, the U.S. Trade Representative sanctioned the site by removing it from the list of “notorious markets” three years ago.
Kering SA states that Alibaba and its partners facilitate the commercialization of counterfeit products to U.S. customers.
According to plaintiffs, on Alibaba.com site, a Gucci-branded handbag was sold for $2 to $5 to anyone willing to buy 2,000 units, while in stores a genuine Gucci bag sells for nearly $800.
Furthermore, Alibaba.com continued to list replicas of famous brands although it had received complaints and requests to remove them from sale.
Image Source: Live Trading News
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