China-UK trade group helps Alibaba tackle counterfeits

UK-China pactCollaboration between Alibaba and the China Britain Business Council has resulted in the removal of £8m-worth of counterfeit UK products since September 2014, says the UK government.

More than 25 UK businesses, including several large multinationals, have been able to get counterfeit goods sold on Alibaba removed, according to Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe.

She made the comments at a UK-China symposium held during Chinese premier Xi Jinping's visit to Britain, which resulted in around £40bn-worth of bilateral trade deals between the two nations. The aim of the symposium was to help British and Chinese businesses to understand how they can effectively protect their IP.

"British products are in demand around the world because our firms invest heavily in creating highly original designs," said Baroness Neville-Rolfe.

"The removal of £8m of counterfeit UK goods will protect the livelihoods of some of our most innovative firms and the jobs of British people," she added.

The announcement is some welcome relief for Alibaba, which has been fighting a rear-guard action over the issue of fake product listings on its sites over the last few months.

In addition to facing lawsuits from brand-owners, it is also facing a petition that its TaoBao online marketplace be returned to the US Trade Representative's list of 'notorious markets' for counterfeit goods.

As part of the symposium, Baroness Neville-Rolfe also launched a toolkit which will safeguard £65m per year in joint UK-China IP research and innovation and "provides a clear framework for negotiating how IP will be managed in joint research projects."

Based on the Lambert Toolkit which was created to help manage IP in domestic collaborative research projects, the UK-China toolkit has been adjusted for both UK and Chinese law. It provides a clear framework for negotiating how IP will be managed in joint research projects.

The UK government has also provided £500,000 in funding to establish a China Digital Copyright and IP Law Research Centre at the University of Nottingham campus in Ningbo, China. Specific projects that will be supported by the centre include research into IP regimes appropriate for Internet-based technologies, 3D printing and fair use of copyright in the digital domain, amongst others.

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