Alibaba has come a long way in providing techniques to fight counterfeit products, but intellectual property issues still come up with sellers on the site. We’ll go through the steps you need to take to report a counterfeit on Alibaba and get it removed from the ecommerce site.
- Brands should start by gathering the correct information to register with Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform
- Rights holders can then register the IP with Alibaba and submit a complaint
- If complaints happen often enough, a brand can use the Good Faith Mechanism for an expedited process
The good news is that you’ll only have to follow some of these steps once. When you already have a profile set up and have registered the IP with Alibaba, you’ll just need to collect infringing links and file complaints.
Step 1: Gather documentation
It can be alarming and frustrating to find a fake product on Alibaba. But don’t rush into filing a complaint without the proper documentation. If you don’t supply the right information from your end, the complaint could be delayed or denied.
To take down a fake from Alibaba, you’ll need to provide a few pieces of information. Individuals will need to upload a copy of their national ID card or a passport. A certificate of incorporation works to prove the identity of an organization.
Next, you’ll need to prove you or your company owns the IP, so make sure you have that ready before you set up a profile. That can include trademarks, copyrights, patents, and supporting documentation.
Finally, you’ll need to have links and screenshots ready to support your IP infringement claims.
Step 2: Register with Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform
Once you have the right information, the next step is to register an account with the Alibaba Group IP Protection Platform (which used to be called AliProtect). You can visit the homepage here.
To set up a profile, you’ll need to provide basic information on your company. You’ll then need to verify the identity of each rightsholder with ID cards, passports, or business certificates.
Step 3: Register the IPR with the Protection Platform
Once inside your profile in the Protection Platform, head to the left-hand icon called “My IPR.” You can then register your intellectual property rights with Alibaba. Register all corresponding documentation including trademarks, patents, and copyrights. You’ll need to enter the following information:
- Place or region of intellectual property registration
- Type of IPR
- Validity period
- Registration certificate
It’s important to be as thorough in this step as possible. Different types of intellectual property rights will require different information and supporting documents. For a trademark, you’ll have to input the name, registration number, registrant, expiration date, class of goods, and the name of the related brand. You should also upload more documentation if the trademark has been renewed, assigned, or modified.
If an authorized agent is working on behalf of the company, they will also need to upload documents that support their identity, such as a power of attorney.
After you’ve uploaded the correct documentation, you can submit the IP registration for verification. You can track the status of registrations in Alibaba in “IPR Management” under My IPR. If for some reason registration is denied, you can investigate the reason and provide more documentation in that area.
Be aware that each trademark, copyright, and patent for each product requires individual verifications. Alibaba usually takes up to three days to verify new accounts. A new account is only considered complete and ready for verification when it has documentation for at least one IPR owner and one IPR.
Step 4: Submit a complaint
Once verified, brands can start to file complaints on infringing products. Here are the steps for submitting a complaint:
- Choose an Alibaba Group URL on which to enforce the IPR (Taobao.com, Tmall.com, Tmall Global, 1688.com, Alibaba.com, AliExpress, or Lazada)
- Choose the type of IPR to enforce and select a corresponding IPR in your account
- Select either “product listing” or “storefront” enforcement type (storefront enforcements on Alibaba and AliExpress require submission by direct email)
- Choose a reason for the enforcement
- Paste URLs of infringing products or search for infringing listings via keywords (depending on the group site)
- Provide supporting proof of the infringement like a description, comparison photo, or supporting document
- Click submit
What happens next
Under “Complaint submission” you can click “Manage complaints” to view the status of each complaint. The seller in question has some time to respond to the complaint. If the seller or storefront doesn’t reply to the original complaint within three days, Alibaba will automatically take the listing down and uphold the complaint.
It’s important to register for Alibaba’s Protection Platform with an email address that you or your company checks regularly. Sellers may respond to complaints with counter-notifications, and if you don’t accept or reject these in a timely manner, the takedown request will be dropped and the listing reinstated.
Alibaba’s Good Faith Mechanism
If you file a certain number of complaints in a certain period of time, your company may qualify for Alibaba’s Good Faith Mechanism. Specifically, at least 100 complaints in the last three months need to have been filed with a 90% successful takedown rate.
This program speeds up the whole process and is useful for brands with a large online assortment. It simplifies requirements for the burden of proof and gives priority to takedown requests.
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