Luxury brands leave group as Alibaba joins
Michael Kors and Gucci have both opted to leave the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) shortly after the Alibaba Group was welcomed into the organisation.
The IACC works with brands, law firms and government agencies to counteract privacy and counterfeiting by promoting laws and directives that render counterfeiting unprofitable. It is active in its native US and internationally. Current members include Chanel, Estée Lauder, LVMH and L’Oréal.
Alibaba was welcomed to the group in April, joining under a special category that did not allow it voting rights or leadership positions. The category was previously created when eBay considered membership, although it did not join the coalition.
Michael Kors exited the group last month in response to Alibaba’s inclusion stating that the online retailer is one of the industry’s “most dangerous and damaging adversaries”. Last week, Gucci followed, but declined to give a public statement on why it was leaving.
However, Gucci’s departure is likely linked to ongoing litigation between brand owner Kering and the Alibaba Group. The group is currently seeking damages from the retailer, accusing it of knowingly profiting from the sale of counterfeit products.
In an official statement, the IACC said that it “stands by its collaborative approach” and that “the problem of counterfeiting is too pervasive and complex for any single company or industry to combat on its own.” It said: “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.”