Alibaba and the China-Britain Business Council have signed a new memorandum of understanding that builds on an existing partnership aimed at protecting the intellectual property rights of U.K. businesses operating in the world’s second-largest economy.
In the initial MOU signed in 2014, Alibaba had agreed to work with CBBC member companies to remove infringing listings from its e-commerce platforms while the CBBC had offered those members guidance on how to use Alibaba’s IP protection and notice-and-takedown systems. Now, according to the latest agreement, the expanded collaboration will include:
- Increased training for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as larger entities, on processes for removal of IP-infringing listings;
- Enhanced pre-emptive measures to stop infringing content from appearing online;
- Greater knowledge sharing between U.K. brands, the CBBC and Alibaba;
- Strengthened offline cross-border law enforcement cooperation.
Jeff Astle, the CBBC’s executive director in China, called the MOU a “significant step” toward bolstering the protection of U.K. companies’ IP.
“It contains clear and ambitious commitments and CBBC is confident about the impact we will have on the healthy growth of Chinese e-commerce and what that means for international brands here,” he said.
Alibaba’s chief platform governance officer, Jessie Zheng, said, “Alibaba is delighted to strengthen its relationship with CBBC through this expanded agreement. We will continue to build the trust that UK brands place in Alibaba while continuing our leadership role in IPR protection within the e-commerce industry.”
British multinationals from Burberry and Unilever to GSK and Dyson attended the signing ceremony in Hangzhou, as did U.K. small businesses Kent Brushes and Fulton Umbrellas, and endorsed the work of Alibaba and the CBBC.
“Cooperating with CBBC and Alibaba over the last three years has made it quicker and easier for us to protect Dyson’s distinctive designs,” Gill Smith, group IP director at Dyson, said. “Thanks to the CBBC-Alibaba collaboration on IP, we have been able to remove more fakes from e-commerce sites than ever before. Their support makes a real difference to our ability to protect consumers from poor quality imitation products.”
Over the three years, Alibaba and the CBBC have worked together on a number of IP enforcement initiatives. They pioneered a new cooperation model with Chinese Customs and police in tracking imported counterfeit products from abroad, while also joining a major offline enforcement action against a criminal network of fake lubricant manufacturers that covered six provinces of China.
Wednesday’s announcement is just the latest in a string of initiatives from Alibaba to position the company as a strong partner in the fight for brand protection while employing best practices—and the latest technologies—to do so.
In August, Alibaba said it was now leveraging advanced data models to speed the handling of takedown requests from brands and rights holders and offering a more-streamlined experience to users of its Intellectual Property Protection Platform. That followed announcements of greater collaboration with governments and trade groups, investigations and criminal cases, and lawsuits to target infringer’s offline.