Gucci is no longer listed as a brand on the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition list of members on its web site.
The departure, according to reports, is over the inclusion of Alibaba Group to the organization, and it occurs as the e-commerce giant’s founder and executive chairman Jack Ma was announced as the IACC’s keynote speaker at the organization’s spring conference in Orlando May 18 to May 20. Last week, Michael Kors pulled out its membership from the organization as well.
Gucci declined to comment.
Alibaba joined the nonprofit in April. Members include hundreds of companies across a variety of sectors from luxury goods to electronics as well as law firms and related service providers aimed at mitigating counterfeit goods. Current member brands include Apple, Chanel, Coach, Hugo Boss, L’Oreal and Nike, among many others.
Alibaba has been criticized for allowing illegal counterfeit products to be sold on its Taobao platform.
The IACC told WWD that Alibaba is categorized as a “general member,” a category of membership was created in 2015.
“The IACC stands by its collaborative approach and is committed to lean into the future and lead a coalition of the willing,” the organization said. “The problem of counterfeiting is too pervasive and complex for any single company or industry to combat on its own. Our General Member category was created in recognition of the integral role that intermediaries play as part of the solution and in eBay’s and others’ interest in joining. Alibaba’s application for membership was unanimously approved by the IACC’s Board of Directors based on their demonstrated commitment and concrete results through the IACC MarketSafe program.”
The IACC went on to state that “other intermediary companies have joined the IACC, and the decision to allow them membership is just one aspect of our broader, more holistic approach to fighting counterfeiting. By bringing intermediaries to the fold, we are offering our current membership a new way to work with these entities directly while coordinating a collective effort to develop solutions to global counterfeiting and piracy.”
In April, Matthew Bassiur, vice president and head of global intellectual property enforcement at Alibaba, said the company was committed to fighting counterfeit goods. And Bassiur said at the time that IACC membership “will further enhance our earnest efforts to forge closer relationships with brands as we continue to explore and implement innovative solutions to address counterfeiting. We strongly value our partnership with the IACC and its members and are proud to be a part of this prestigious coalition.
On Sunday, Alibaba told WWD it was “proud to have received a unanimous vote from the IACC board of directors to become the first e-commerce company to join the IACC. This membership will allow us to work even more closely with brands and the industry to aggressively and proactively enforce intellectual property rights.”
The company added that “war against counterfeits can only be won when all industry players join forces. We are part of the solution and we encourage all brands to work together with us and the IACC to tackle this serious, global issue.”
Separately, in February, Union des Fabricants invited Ma to be a speaker at its conference in Paris. According to the event’s program, Ma was on a panel with Annick de Chaunac, directrice juridice of Hermès. Alibaba is also a member of the International Trademark Association.