On the heels of a number of high profile lawsuits and stern warnings from the U.S. Trade Representative, Alibaba Group has enlisted the help of new intellectual property counsel. The Chinese e-Commerce giant tapped Matthew Bassiur as vice president, head of global intellectual property enforcement. Bassiur, who joins the Chinese e-commerce giant from Pfizer and previously worked in a similar capacity at Apple, will lead a team that works with international brands, industry associations, regulators and law enforcement to “further the company’s efforts at protecting intellectual property.”
Alibaba’s founder and chairman, Jack Ma, spoke out about Bassiur’s appointment, saying: “Matthew’s appointment is the latest step in Alibaba Group’s comprehensive and industry-leading efforts to fight counterfeits. Counterfeiting is a problem that challenges all forms of distribution, whether in e-commerce or offline retail. We will continue to be relentless in our long-term commitment to protect both consumers and intellectual property rights owners, and we call on all companies in our industry to join our fight against bad actors.”
Bassiur’s appointment comes after Kering, parent company to Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, and Bottega Veneta, among others, filed a second lawsuit against the Chinese group, which made headlines for its record-breaking initial public offering on the New York Stock exchange in September 2014. Kering initially filed suit against Alibaba last year, alleging that the digital marketplace-owner was not only providing an online venue to counterfeiters, but was also knowingly assisting them in the marketing and distribution of counterfeit goods. While the parties ultimately settled the case out of court, Kering initiated a second lawsuit against Alibaba this past May, claiming that it failed to live up to the terms of their settlement agreement. That parties have since been ordered to take part in mediation, after Ma made statements that he would prefer to lose the case and lose money than settle again.