On the heels of Kering filing a second lawsuit against Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant, said there is absolutely no chance of a settlement between his company and the French luxury conglomerate, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen, among other high fashion brands.
You may recall that in May, a group of Kering-owned houses came together to file suit against Alibaba, contending that the Chinese online shopping giant knowingly made it possible for counterfeiters to sell their products throughout the world. In their complaint, which was filed in the Southern District of New York, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and other brands owned by Paris-based conglomerate, Kering SA, allege that Alibaba conspired to manufacture, offer for sale and traffic in counterfeit products bearing their trademarks without their permission.
This lawsuit 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. Well, apparently Alibaba, which holds the title of the biggest initial public offering in the world, thanks to its $25 billion listing on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014, was not holding up its end of the deal. And Kering sued again.
Ma spoke out recently about the potential of settling the second case out of court (AGAIN), saying: “I would [rather] lose the case, lose the money, but we would gain our dignity and respect. We are the military fighting against the counterfeit terrorists. [The brands] have to work together with us instead of killing the soldiers.” Additionally, Ma said in a statement that upholding intellectual property rights is not simply a “white and black” issue, stressing that his company needs to care about the rights of all people involved, both the branded businesses and the online sellers.
Alibaba issued a statement in May, noting: “We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so. Unfortunately, Kering has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation.”