Jack Ma has a new point man for counterfeits.
Alibaba Group 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 at Apple, will report to Alibaba president Michael Evans and start next month.
Bassiur 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.
“Matthew’s appointment is the latest step in Alibaba Group’s comprehensive and industry-leading efforts to fight counterfeits,” said Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba. “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.”
Those strong words aside, Alibaba has come under searing criticism from Kering for not only providing an online venue to counterfeiters, but for helping them market and distribute fakes through its fulfillment system and handling the money along the way. Last week, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office put Alibaba on notice to immediately address the concerns of brands.
For its part, the company says it has been active and is managing a broad swath of commerce from 386 million annual active shoppers in China, as of last count.
The company said it “employs a broad range of strong measures to maintain the integrity of its marketplaces, including consumer-protection funds and strict policies against illegitimate listings and poor quality merchants, ensuring that consumers continue to have a peace of mind when they shop on Alibaba’s platforms.”
Bassiur’s certainly familiar with the terrain.
Before joining corporate America, he was a federal prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section. Earlier he was an assistant district attorney in the Trial Division under Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. He specialized in investigations and prosecution of New York’s trademark counterfeiting industry and Asian organized crime.