Alibaba Group aims to step up actions against counterfeiting

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Internet giant Alibaba has pledged to continue to take effective action against infringements of intellectual property rights on its online marketplaces, following the recent restructuring of the group. A new focus is on so‑called hidden links, among other things.

The Chinese e‑commerce company Alibaba intends to further strengthen its measures against trade in counterfeit products on its platforms, as the company says in a report published in October. The announcement follows the major restructuring that the company undertook earlier this year – which, according to Alibaba, would not change the company’s commitment to protecting intellectual property. “Our mission to protect IP rights remains the same. We’re only going to get better from here,” said Matthew Bassiur, Vice President and Head of Global IP Enforcement of the Alibaba Group.

At present, Alibaba’s IP protection team is focusing on so‑called hidden links, among other things. As the company says, the term describes a ploy used by counterfeiters to place a listing for a completely different, seemingly innocuous product – but which actually masks counterfeit goods. Such bogus offers are often advertised via chat groups and social media, where the hidden links are only available for a limited time. This approach can apparently serve to make the trade in counterfeit products particularly difficult to trace. To counteract this, Alibaba claims to be working on new algorithms. These are designed to detect and remove hidden offers, based on historical data. However, Alibaba’s IP enforcement manager Bassiur feels that the social media platforms are also responsible for taking action against this.

//“Social media and chat apps must be at the table and part of the solution. They are obviously best positioned to police their own platforms. If they don’t, hidden links will continue to flourish.”
Matthew Bassiur, Vice President & Head of Global IP Enforcement, Alibaba Group

In addition, Alibaba’s intellectual property rights enforcement team is set to be further strengthened. According to the company, additional employees have already been hired for IP protection, including at locations in the USA (Washington D.C.), in Europe (Paris, Madrid, Milan), and at the Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

According to its own data, in the twelve months between July 2022 and June 2023, the company made almost 170 referrals to law enforcement authorities. These referrals, based on information on counterfeiting found online and subsequent investigations offline, led to around 620 arrests. In addition, almost 260 counterfeiting facilities were reportedly shut down as a result. The total value of the law enforcement cases triggered by Alibaba amounts to around 160 million US dollars (around 150 million euros), the company says.

The Alibaba Group, which operates marketplaces including and, has been repeatedly criticized for the large number of counterfeits on its platforms. For example, the AliExpress and Taobao platforms belonging to the group, which were once again included on the US government’s Notorious Markets list last year.

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