Founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, the Alibaba Group has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most influential online commerce businesses. One of Alibaba’s most popular platforms is Alibaba.com, a leading global wholesale B2B marketplace that facilitates trade between businesses from around the world.
Unfortunately, Alibaba’s platforms are also targeted by unscrupulous bad actors looking to defraud businesses and consumers. Counterfeits and other infringing products pose a serious threat to businesses using this marketplace, eroding reputation and damaging supplier relations.
In this article, we share a step-by-step guide to removing counterfeits from Alibaba’s platforms manually. We also explain the most effective approach: using Corsearch’s AI-fueled technology and dedicated experts to save you time and deliver a sustained reduction in infringement across Alibaba’s marketplaces.
Step-by-step guide to removing counterfeits from Alibaba manually
Step 1. Identify the type of infringement on Alibaba
If you’ve found a counterfeit, lookalike, or an otherwise infringing listing on Alibaba, it’s critical to cite the relevant intellectual property rights and type of infringement. That’s because the platform’s enforcement process varies depending on the type of infringement. Intellectual property rights are defined as legal rights that protect the ownership of artistic, literary, and other creative works.
You should prepare links and screenshots as evidence for your claims of copyright, or trademark, patent, or design right infringement on Alibaba.
A trademark signifies a unique term, logo, expression, design, or emblem utilized to indicate the origin of goods and services. Unauthorized utilization of a mark resembling yours constitutes trademark infringement, encompassing both visual and auditory similarities.
Within the realm of trademark infringement, counterfeiting emerges as a specific violation, wherein individuals or enterprises replicate registered trademarks verbatim to deceive customers, masquerading these imitations as genuine products from your brand.
Conversely, Lookalikes and replica products intentionally exclude trademarks from their design and packaging. To address these illicit items, you can send enforcement notices citing copyright, design right, or patent infringement. Occasionally, it may be possible to cite trademark infringement if a seller has included your trademarks in a listing description or their username.
Copyright protection extends to creators and authors of literary, visual, and multimedia creations, encompassing books, films, music, photographs, video games, and artistic works. Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized utilization of safeguarded creative works.
Often, counterfeiters will incorporate your copyrighted visuals within their product listings to lend an air of legitimacy and mislead potential buyers.
Design rights encompass exclusive legal safeguards for the physical appearance of products, spanning 3D forms, 2D patterns, and logos that denote a particular brand. While enforcing design rights can prove challenging based on the nature of the product, they can be effectively deployed to counter imitations present in various marketplaces.
Patents provide protection for inventions, products, or industrial processes. Acquiring a patent confers the authority to prevent others from producing, using, vending, or importing your invention into a country for a span of up to 20 years. Patent infringement arises when an individual employs your invention without requisite permission.
Step 2. Sign-up to Alibaba’s IP Protection Platform and register intellectual property
Alibaba’s ecosystem provides various tools and services to help brands combat counterfeiting and protect their intellectual property rights. This is crucial for maintaining brand reputation and consumer trust in a market that has historically been plagued by counterfeit products.
To remove infringements from any of Alibaba’s online marketplaces (including Alibaba.com, Taobao, and Tmall) you’ll need to enroll in the Alibaba IP Protection Platform. To sign up, you’ll need to provide information on your identity, the organization you are representing, and proof of ownership of registered intellectual property. It is crucial that you register with a regularly monitored email address.
Create an account with the Alibaba Group IP Platform
To create an account, you’ll need to visit the Alibaba Group IP Platform portal.
You’ll first be asked to upload a copy of your passport or equivalent identity card. You’ll then need to provide a certificate of incorporation to prove the identity of an organization.
Note: If you are an agent acting on behalf of a company, you’ll need to provide an authorization document.
Upload your intellectual property documentation to the Protection Platform
You’ll need to provide the relevant accompanying documents for each type of intellectual property that you are registering. As an example, for a trademark you’ll need to provide the name, registration number, registrant, expiration date, class of goods, and associated brand is required. Additional documentation is also necessary for renewed, assigned, or modified trademarks.
Once you’ve uploaded your documents, you can submit IP registrations for verification. Monitoring registration status can be done in Alibaba’s “IPR Management” within “My IPR”. Should the registration be denied, you will be able to see an explanation and any requests for further documents.
Individual verifications are mandated for each product’s trademark, copyright, and patent. Alibaba typically takes up to three days for new account verification. An account is deemed ready for verification only when it possesses documentation for at least one IPR owner and one IPR.
Step 3. Report the infringement through the Protection Platform Portal
After you’ve verified your brand, you can submit trademark, copyright, or other IPR complaints against infringing products on Alibaba and AliExpress. The following outlines the steps for submitting an infringement complaint on Alibaba.
1. Choose the relevant platform (e.g., Alibaba.com, Taobao.com, Tmall.com, Tmall Global, 1688.com, AliExpress, or Lazada)
2. Select the relevant IPR type and choose the related IPR in your account
3. Decide on the enforcement type, either “product listing” or “storefront” (note: for storefront enforcements on Alibaba and AliExpress, you’ll need to notify via email)
4. Select the reason for enforcement
5. Add URLs of infringing products or search for infringing listings using keywords (based on the group site)
6. Provide further evidence of infringement, such as a description, a photo comparison to the genuine product, or supporting documentation
7. Submit the complaint
Step 4. Wait for Alibaba’s response
The seller has a three-day window to respond to your complaint. After this point, Alibaba will uphold the complaint and automatically remove the reported listings.
Ensure that you regularly check the inbox of the email address you registered with. Sellers are likely to respond to your complaints with counter-notifications; if you fail to promptly accept or reject these responses, your takedown request will be discarded, and the listing will be restored.
You can check the status of each infringement complaint by navigating to “Complaint Submission,” and then clicking “Manage Complaints.”
As the steps above highlight, this is a lengthy, manual process that will not scale if you are facing hundreds, if not thousands, of infringing listings. Brands that face constant attack by bad actors will often take a different approach. To remove high volumes of infringements and prevent consumers from being defrauded on Alibaba’s platforms, you should harness automated technology and a team of dedicated experts.
Utilize AI, expertise, and platform relationships to tackle counterfeits at scale
Regardless of whether your focus is on social media, marketplaces, websites, app stores, or other channels, Corsearch provides comprehensive brand protection solutions that save time and deliver impact.
By choosing Corsearch, hours upon hours of manual reviews can be relegated to the past; our machine-learning technology automatically matches features, images, and logos on product listings and posts. Utilizing our AI-assisted technology, you can identify, prioritize, and remove high-risk threats swiftly. Our platform offers real-time dashboards to help your team demonstrate the value of your program and drive broader business success.
The key distinction from other brand protection vendors? Corsearch operates as a partner, not a vendor. We offer a winning combination of industry-leading technology and experts which operate as an extension of your team. Furthermore, you’ll be able to take advantage of our strong relationship with Alibaba – we have the following initiatives and processes in place:
- Good Faith Account Monthly Conference: Each Alibaba Good-Faith Account can schedule a monthly conference call with the Alibaba Notice Auditing Team. With multiple Good-Faith accounts, we can arrange these calls with Alibaba on a weekly basis.
- AACA Account BP Manager: For brands that are AACA members, a dedicated Alibaba Brand Protection Manager is assigned to address concerns. Several ongoing AACA projects are also managed by this team. AACA members can directly raise issues with their designated Alibaba BP manager.
- Dedicated Alibaba BP Manager for Vendors: A designated point of contact is available for all vendors. This contact is proficient in resolving escalated issues promptly.
- Online Service Portal: Within the IPP portal of Alibaba, an online customer service portal is accessible. This portal enables us to pose inquiries, with automated replies typically provided. Furthermore, there is the option for live chat.
- IPR Public Emails: Should any issues remain unresolved through the online IPP portal, we have the option to use the unique Alibaba public email address. Additionally, Alibaba utilizes this email address to provide daily feedback on our accounts’ concerns.
Speak with a brand protection expert
Utilize Corsearch’s AI-powered solutions and excellent relationship with Alibaba to swiftly remove counterfeits and other threats found on its marketplaces.
Speak with one of our experts to learn how you can achieve global visibility of threats across all channels and demonstrate tangible impact through our expert-led enforcement.
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