Gucci, Balenciaga, YSL, Bottega Veneta, et. al. File Suit Against Alibaba Group for selling Counterfeit Goods
The battle against counterfeits in China rages on in the latest lawsuit filed by Gibson Dunn last month on behalf of their clients Gucci, Balenciaga, YSL, Bottega Veneta and several other luxury goods manufacturers against Alibaba Group, a privately owned Hangzhou-based group of E-commerce businesses. The Plaintiffs are alleging that the Defendants facilitated the sale of millions of dollars in counterfeit goods.
The heavy hitters in luxury goods are going after a major internet giant. Alibaba comprises of business-to-business online web portals, online retail and payment services, a shopping search engine, and data-centric cloud computing services. It handles more transactions than any other E-commerce company in the world, totaling $248 billion last year (more than that of eBay and Amazon combined). Reports of Alibaba's impending IPO are speculating that it could be the largest IPO ever by a technology company.
The Plaintiffs are claiming that the Defendants assisted the counterfeiters' business operations by providing the marketplace, search engine, advertising and logistical services for their illegal enterprises. The complaint provides details of the search and sale process, demonstrating how the Defendants cause the sales to take place by directing customers to the illegal counterfeits through their proprietary algorithms and keywords sold to the counterfeiters that include Plaintiffs' trademarks and the word "replica."
Given the ongoing battle of counterfeiting in China, Alibaba's deep pockets, and the detailed 147 page complaint, we here at TFG don't foresee this case going away anytime soon without a major fight or a major settlement. We'll be sure to keep our fashion law readers updated. Until then, more details of the case can be found in the copy of the complaint below: