'No chance of settlement' between Alibaba and Kering: Jack Ma

Updated: 2015-11-09 14:42


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'No chance of settlement' between Alibaba and Kering: Jack Ma

Jack Ma Yun addresses the Economic Club of New York, June 9, 2015. [Photo/IC]

Jack Ma, founder and chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, said there is no chance of a settlement between his company and French luxury conglomerate Kering SA, which filed a lawsuit against Alibaba for turning a blind eye to counterfeiters, according to a report on Forbes' website.

"I would [rather] lose the case, lose the money," he was quoted as saying. "But we would gain our dignity and respect."

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York by Kering, the owner of luxury brands like Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, on May 15. It alleged that Alibaba had conspired to manufacture, offer for sale and traffic in counterfeit products bearing their trademarks without permission.

Kering said the lawsuit is part of the group's ongoing global efforts to maintain its customers' trust in genuine products.

It is the second time in less than a year that Kering is suing Alibaba over the alleged sale of fake goods. Alibaba and Kering reached a resolution on a suit filed in July 2014.

Ma said 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 said in a statement in May that "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," the company said.

Ma said again that his company is open to partners in terms of the fights against counterfeiters.

"We are the military fighting against the counterfeit terrorists. [The brands] have to work together with us instead of killing the soldiers," he said.

Taobao, a major Alibaba online shopping platform, was placed on the list of Notorious Markets by the Office of the US Trade Representative in 2008. But it was removed from the list four years later after Alibaba's collaboration in stopping counterfeits.

The counterfeit problem is prompting some Alibaba partners to move to other platforms.

On May 13, Sephora, a global beauty retailer owned by LVMH Group - the world's largest luxury goods company - set up its first online store on JD.com Inc, one of Alibaba's major rivals.

JD.com's good reputation was one of the main reasons why Sephora chose to be part of its platform, according to Sephora China.