- Robyn Turk |
Luxury groups are fighting back against counterfeiting, a major industry-wide dilemma that causes billions of dollars in damages each year. Alibaba started an Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance (AACA) in attempt to protect intellectual property rights.
The Alliance now has 115 members across 16 countries who share a mission to end counterfeiting. Alibaba told WWD that the Alliance’s membership has at least tripled in size since its founding in 2017.
Luxury goods holding group Richemont is the latest to join the team. The Swiss company joins a diverse group of brands with a shared mission, including New Balance, General Motors and McDonald’s. Richemont plans to share technology and expertise to aid in the efforts of the AACA.
“The protection of intellectual property rights requires all stakeholders to work closely together and share their expertise,” Michael Yao, senior vice president and head of brand protection and cooperation for Alibaba told WWD. “The AACA will continue its efforts to establish industry best practices for IP protection by creating effective collaboration among brands, platforms and law enforcement.”
Counterfeiting is becoming an epidemic within the industry
While luxury brands often experience losses from knock-off products, counterfeiting is becoming a major problem for brands across the board. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized nearly to 1.7 million dollars worth of counterfeit Nike sneakers earlier this year. A Global Brand Counterfeiting Report for 2018 estimated that such scams caused 323 billion dollars in losses for brands, with 30.3 billion dollars of that total representing losses to luxury brands.
With these figures, luxury brands have a right to be cautious. Chanel accused luxury consignment e-tailer the RealReal of counterfeiting its handbags, even going as far as to file a trademark complaint in the New York federal court last month. The RealReal, which prides itself in using highly-trained experts authenticating every secondhand item it sells, responded that “Chanel's lawsuit is nothing more than a thinly-veiled bullying effort to stop consumers from reselling their authentic used goods. The RealReal stands behind its authenticity guarantee and will continue to provide a safe and reliable platform for consumers to resell luxury items."