Alibaba plans to establish an advisory board of brands and trade associations to help protect intellectual property in 2017. This is in addition to other steps the e-commerce giant has taken, noticeably its Good Faith Program, which has much in common to a DMCA Takedown Notice. Alibaba kicked-off the Program in 2015 and gave it a boost earlier this year with the introduction of an IP Joint-Force System. By August of 2016 Alibaba had removed more than 380 million counterfeit product listings and closed 180,000 offending stores while working with over one thousand brands.
Sneaker culture has led to a new industry: the sneaker resale market, which generates $1 billion in sales yearly. It’s also a market for counterfeit sneakers. One reseller was James Pepion, who did business through Get-Supplied.com and who was raided earlier this year by the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security.
Investigators found that Pepion’s PayPal account for his business had received over $2 million since 2012 with many comments attached to transactions calling the sneakers he sold fake. He was accused of selling fake, unauthorized, and grey market sneakers produced outside of Nike’s partnered factories. The investigation tied Pepion to a Chinese national suspected of organizing the theft and sale of sneakers from factories.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2016 review of notorious markets, which includes online markets that are ‘notorious’ for selling fake products. Alibaba’s flea market-like Taobao shopping platform was cited (see page 12 of USTR’s Report), after having been taken off of the list for many years.
In a statement, Alibaba said it was disappointed and questioned whether the current political climate was to blame. Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma was a featured speaker at an International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) convention earlier this year but he dropped out after several IACC members cancelled their membership in protest due to widespread piracy on Alibaba.
Sneaker Con is a convention where sneaker heads and aficionados gather to swap, buy and trade, as well as to see the latest in sneaker culture. It’s also an ideal location for selling knockoffs. Sneaker Con swept the country this year (see schedule below). Some designer sneakers that retail for thousands of dollars had their debut at Sneaker Con.
Charlotte – December 10th
New York City – November 5th and 6th
Atlanta – September 17th
Dallas – July 16th
More than $10 million worth of counterfeit Apple and Samsung smart phones were seized last week after a months-long investigation that began when suspicious packages began coming in through Kennedy Airport. A total of 31,000 smart phones were seized. The smart phones, which were not made to industry standards and were potentially unsafe, were shipped from two Brooklyn locations to smaller stores and sold to unsuspecting customers.