Alibaba’s IPP Platform offers speedier action

China’s online retail giant Alibaba has enhanced its Intellectual Property Protection (IPP) Platform, offering faster processing for takedown requests from brands and rights holders.

At its Brand Rights Holders Day, the company told 180 brand representatives in Beijing that in the first month since the soft launch of the upgraded platform, nearly all IP-related takedown requests were handled within 24 hours, thanks to new, more effective data-modelling.

Of the requests, 83 per cent resulted in takedowns. Alibaba says the remaining 17 per cent were declined mainly because of insufficient evidence to prove infringement, or a mismatch between the item listing and IP documents filed.

To improve the overall user experience, Alibaba says it has set up a special website where rights holders and brands can register and file takedown requests covering all its marketplaces. The company is also firming up its policies and enforcement programs to protect original designs, along with an expanded brand-protection program that offers multilingual trademark recognition.

A team of IPR professionals has also been put in place to further reduce response time, to reach out to new IPP Platform users and to help with complicated cases.

Merchant crackdown

Since last year, Alibaba has been cracking down on merchants who mislead consumers by including branded keywords in product-listing titles which they do not have the rights to use. It is using advanced algorithms to identify, block and remove such listings and root out repeat offenders.

By the end of last month, valid complaints about the misuse of trademarked keywords had dropped 84 per cent from a year earlier.

Alibaba says it is also making continuous improvements to the IPP Platform, weighing feedback from rights holders about their user experience through regular satisfaction surveys.

“Brand trust is core to our mission,” says Alibaba chief platform governance officer Jessie Zheng. “Our enhanced platform and express processing of listing takedowns, along with significant progress in other important initiatives, all showcase the industry best practices Alibaba is creating for the benefit and trust of all our stakeholders.”

Alibaba says it agreed with French luxury group Kering last week to co-operate in efforts to protect intellectual property and take joint enforcement actions online and offline against infringers.

At its Vendors Day last month, Alibaba met with IP-enforcement companies to share experiences, best practices and the way forward for collaboration.

“The willingness to co-operate, to talk directly with customers…and find real solutions to the problems we face, this is something hard to find in other marketplaces,” says online brand protection manager Joan Porta of Spanish anti-piracy startup Red Points, who attended the event.

Growing out of a single, four-month co-operative investigation last year, Alibaba has partnered with the governments of 13 Chinese provinces and municipalities to form the Cloud Sword Alliance. This uses algorithms and machine learning to not just pinpoint illegal transactions, but track them upstream so authorities can shut down the illegal production source.

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