Alibaba Holding Group Ltd must do a better job of fighting the sale of counterfeit goods and pirated materials on its e-commerce websites if it wished keep off the US government's annual "Notorious Markets List," a warning from the US Office of the Trade Representative said yesterday.
The federal agency let off Alibaba warning that the company's efforts to fight piracy and respond to complaints would be monitored. The agency did not name the Chinese company on its blacklist.
According to commentators Alibaba's reputation would have been damaged had it been listed again, after it exited the list in 2012. The company's shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange where it was cultivating business relationships with retailers and entertainment companies as part of the company's global expansion.
According to the report, the trade representative was "increasingly concerned by rights holders' reports that Alibaba Group's enforcement program is too slow, difficult to use, and lacks transparency."
Alibaba has been asked by the agency to simplify the process for stakeholders to lodge complaints and request enforcement action, make procedures to remove counterfeit products readily available and reduce the timelines for removing counterfeit goods and levying fines against sellers.
Alibaba ''is committed to the protection of intellectual property rights and the fight against counterfeiting,'' the company said in an e-mailed statement.
''Counterfeiting is an issue all global e-commerce companies face, and we are doing all we can to address and fight it.''
"We will continue to work with brands, governments and our sellers to maintain the integrity of our marketplaces."
Since 2012, the Chinese e-commerce giant had worked on enforcing anti-counterfeit procedures, but according to the US trade office said it was not clear what effect these measures have had.
"Despite these new procedures, USTR is increasingly concerned by rights holders' reports that Alibaba Group's enforcement program is too slow, difficult to use, and lacks transparency," the trade office said in a statement yesterday, referring to complaints from trademark holders that sell merchandise on the site.