Alibaba Revises Taobao IPR Enforcement System

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Carrying on with the theme from the China IPR SME Helpdesk’s last blog post on e-commerce brand protection, Alibaba Group have made revisions to Taobao’s enforcement policies which took effect last month.

After Alibaba’s IPO last September worth US$25 billion, making it the largest IPO in history, it was brought to light the company has been used by businesses for illegal activity, including trade mark violation and copyright infringement.

Along with the announcement last month that the National People’s Congress Financial and Economic Affairs Committee have been tasked with drafting China’s first e-commerce law to be completed by the end of 2015, Taobao’s online anti IPR infringement system, TaoProtect, has been revised and the new system was introduced last month.

The revisions made to the existing system are to the complaint filing procedure, good-faith takedown mechanism and counter notices.

According to the new system, in order to file a complaint, IP owners will be required to categorise their complaint via drop-down menus with various IP infringement options. On top of this IP owners will still be required to send a written explanation for any advertisements they deem objectionable.

The good-faith take-down mechanism which is in a trial period has been introduced with the aim of rewarding IP owners with a concrete history of correct take-down requests. Under this mechanism complainants will be classified into three categories: good, normal and bad. Those with an accurate history of take-down requests (>90%) will be awarded a “good” rating and therefore their request will be dealt with within three business days, those with a “normal” rating will be dealt with within five to seven days and those with less than 45% accurate requests will receive a “bad” rating and the take-down timeframe is unspecified.

Before an advertisement can be removed the alleged infringer will be notified of the complaint through the online system and will have the opportunity to respond to the claim via a counter notice. Alibaba created a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with some brand owners which meant they could file a take-down notice without providing a reason, this is rumoured to be continued this year.

The China IPR SME Helpdesk will be holding a joint event with the European Chamber of Commerce on 28 May on What You Need to Know About Online IP Protection in China. Alibaba Group’s Legal Counsel David Ho will be a speaking at the event to share with attendees his expertise and experience on online IP protection in China.

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