Gucci has joined Michael Kors in distancing itself from the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (“IACC”) on the heels of the inclusion of Alibaba as a member. Last month, the Chinese e-commerce giant and notorious facilitator of the rampant sale of counterfeit goods on its platforms was permitted to join the IACC, a Washington, DC-based non-profit organization devoted solely to combating product counterfeiting and piracy. The move has prompted protests from over a dozen IACC members, including New York-based brand, Michael Kors, which quit earlier this month, calling Alibaba one of the fashion industry’s “most dangerous and damaging adversaries.”
As of late last week, Gucci has also dropped out of the IACC, with its name officially being removed from the group’s website this weekend. “They were not happy about Alibaba joining,” said IACC vice-president Candice Li-Uzoigwe. She confirmed that Gucci informed the group of its decision to leave last Wednesday.
Gucci, along with Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, and Yves Saint Laurent, has a bit of history with Alibaba. The Kering-owned brands have filed a second lawsuit against the Chinese e-commerce giant in the Southern District of New York, a federal court in New York, accusing Alibaba of knowingly encouraging and profiting from the sale of counterfeit goods on its e-commerce platforms. The recent suit, which was filed in May, marked the second time in less than a year that the Kering brands have sued Alibaba and comes on the heels of an August 2014 settlement between Kering and Alibaba after Kering withdrew a nearly identical lawsuit last year. According to the terms of their settlement, Alibaba would cooperate with Kering to stem the sale of fake products. Alibaba has dismissed the most recent suit as “wasteful litigation.”