It was imminent that Alibaba, which has been hailed as the best place to score counterfeit goods ranging from fake Givenchy and Ralph Lauren to knockoff Yeezys, was going to piss some people off. The site trades in illicit goods, and previous lawsuits from the Kering Group, which owns labels like Balenciaga, Gucci, and Saint Laurent, have not slowed Alibaba down. Now, Kering has filed its second lawsuit in under a year against Alibaba, The Fashion Law reports.
The new lawsuit alleges that Alibaba helped counterfeit makers manufacture and sell their illegal products. "The Alibaba defendants facilitate and encourage the sale of an enormous number of counterfeit products through their self-described ‘ecosystem,’ which provides manufacturers, sellers, and buyers of counterfeit goods with a marketplace for such goods, and provides online marketing, credit card processing, financing, and shipping services that effectuate the sale of the counterfeit products," the filing states, according to The Fashion Law.
Kering and Alibaba settled an extremely similar lawsuit in August of last year. In the settlement, Alibaba vowed to partner with Kering to help stop the sales of counterfeit products. Obviously, Kering has not been pleased with the results of the agreement. The holding company disputes that Alibaba's recommended search terms, including "replica” and “cucci” and “guchi,” directs customers to the very items the site promised to prevent.
Alibaba still believes this is a frivolous lawsuit, though, and maintains that it works with brands to stop counterfeiting. "Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation," an Alibaba spokesperson said. "We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously."
We'll keep you updated on this story as more details emerge.