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Fight against fakes

来源: Beijing Review 作者: 2015-02-15 15:50:52

     The SAIC didn't walk out of the public spat unscathed, either.

  Wang Jingbo, a professor at the Research Center for the Governance of Law under the China University of Political Science and Law, said the SAIC should notify business owners of the results of the inspection and give them 15 days to appeal before disclosing the information to the public.

  "According to media reports, many online vendors claimed they didn't receive any notices from the SAIC, nor were they informed of their legitimate right to appeal. If that's true, it's a clear violation of the procedure law," Wang said. "Also, the administrative guidance for Taobao is a non-compulsory guideline for businesses or citizens that suggests that they correct their wrongdoings. Therefore, the document can't be given the title of white paper. That title is too misleading."

  Qi Aimin, Director of the Intellectual Property Center for Concerted Innovation at Chongqing University, said the sampling method of the inspection is questionable.

  "SAIC selected only one sample from one website and drew the conclusion that the authentic rate was zero percent, while it selected three products from another website and claimed its authentic ratio was 100 percent. Among the 92 total samples, 51 are from, which is clearly biased," Qi said.

  "It's inappropriate for the SAIC to release the meeting minutes of an indoor meeting under the name of white paper," Qi said. "The SAIC claimed it didn't disclose the information because it didn't want to disrupt the IPO of Alibaba. The withholding of information is against the law."

  Ala Musi, Deputy Director of the Policy and Law Committee of China E-Commerce Association, said Chinese laws don't have a clear definition of "authentic products."

  The SAIC's category of unauthentic products include shoddy, refurbished and all unauthorized products. But some unauthorized products are genuine products. That's too large a category, and the definition is different from customers' idea of fakes, he said.

  "In addition, Taobao is a customer-to-customer platform and it's questionable to compare it to those business-to-customer marketplaces. It's just like comparing products sold by street vendors to those sold in shopping malls. This kind of false categorization could be very misleading and hurt the development of e-commerce industry," he said. "If there has to be a comparison, Taobao should be compared to its American peer Ebay."

  Focusing on the real problem

  It's widely anticipated that the dispute between Alibaba and the regulator may bring about some change to kick-start a tougher anti-counterfeit campaign by both the government and the industry.

  During the meeting with Alibaba leaders, Zhang Mao, Minister of the SAIC, reaffirmed Alibaba's positive efforts in safeguarding consumer rights, purifying the business environment and promoting self-discipline.

  Zhang Mao said the SAIC should find new methods of supervision and set up a mechanism for communication and interaction in an effort to promote the healthy growth of Internet economy.

  Alibaba's founder Ma said online shopping is a new and rapidly growing sector in China, which should be further regulated and improved.

  "Alibaba has always been engaged in combating fake products. Next, Alibaba will actively cooperate with the government, devote more capital and technology to fighting fakes, and further expand its professional team put together for this purpose," Ma said.

  Ma also said that Alibaba would reinforce routine online inspection and sampling tests while making joint efforts with law-enforcement departments.

  To this end, Taobao has organized a 300-member "special force" to combat fakes and is recruiting the best talent from society to cooperate with government departments, intellectual property owners and ordinary consumers both online and offline to root out the problem of fake products that has long plagued the company.

  According to Alibaba, the company now has over 2,000 employees dedicated to protecting consumer rights and combating fakes.

  On the other side of the equation, in order to intensify supervision over third-party e-commerce websites, the SAIC is accelerating the construction of a monitoring system over them. It's expected that the system will be put into use within half a year.

  Qi, the expert on intellectual property from Chongqing University, said supervision over product quality is first and foremost the responsibility of government departments.

  "There should be a law to specifically regulate how much responsibility e-commerce websites should shoulder in combating fakes. E-commerce websites should have limited responsibilities and the task shouldn't fall on them alone. Otherwise, their development would be greatly hindered," Qi said.

  Wang Chunhui, Director of the Institute of China ICT Development and Strategy with the Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, agreed with Qi, saying that fake products exist both online and offline.


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