Gucci America defects from IACC in Alibaba protest

Buy now buttonGucci America is the latest brand owner to quit the International Anti-Counterfeit Coalition (IACC) in protest at the inclusion of Alibaba in its membership.

The IACC extended membership to the Chinese e-commerce giant earlier this year, making it the first ‘intermediary’ company to take advantage of the group’s general membership category.

The move has been met with consternation by some companies who feel Alibaba is a major part of the counterfeiting problem they face. Luxury goods group Michael Kors was the first to vote with its IACC – announcing its departure last month – and the decision by Gucci America will raise fears that others among its 250-strong membership may follow suit.

The IACC has always maintained that including Alibaba and other intermediaries is an important step, arguing that having them inside the group provides opportunities for collaboration that might not be possible otherwise.

Allowing intermediaries to join the IACC “is just one aspect of our broader, more holistic approach to fighting counterfeiting,” said the group in a statement released ahead of the weekend.

“We are offering our current membership a new way to work with these entities directly while coordinating a collective effort to develop solutions to global counterfeiting and piracy,” it added.

Alibaba has been working with the IACC since 2013 and the two organisations have collaborated on the formation of the MarketSafe initiative, designed to provide a speedy take-down process for listings on Alibaba’s e-commerce sites suspected of infringement.

Despite these and other efforts by the Chinese e-commerce company, Michael Kors said last month that Alibaba is its “most dangerous and damaging adversary.”

Gucci is already at legal loggerheads with Alibaba, as its parent Kering filed a lawsuit last year accusing the e-commerce company of knowingly profiting from the actions of counterfeiters on its sites, which include Tmall and TaoBao.

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