Luxury goods makers have filed a lawsuit against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China’s largest online commerce company, accusing it of consciously permitting its users to sell fake merchandise, reports Shanghai Daily.
Paris-based Kering SA, which represents upmarket fashion and lifestyle designer brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court, claiming damages and a court order against Alibaba for an alleged breach of trademark and racketeering laws.
Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that Alibaba and its entities “provide the marketplace advertising and other essential services necessary for counterfeiters to sell their counterfeit products to customers in the United States.”
An Alibaba spokesperson has pledged that the company will ‘vigorously’ fight the lawsuit, which seeks an injunction to prohibit Alibaba from offering or facilitating the sale of knock-off goods and monetary compensation based on the number of counterfeit items sold.
Taobao, one of Alibaba’s subsidiary platforms which functions like eBay, was named by the US Trade Representative on its list of most ‘notorious markets’ for fake goods until 2012.
Alibaba has faced its fair share of controversy recently: earlier this month it was forced to take down an ad seeing a female with porn star qualities to motivate employees after it was accused of misogyny.
By Liam Bourke