HongFangLaw ~?Chinese IP Law Updates ~ n’ 39
29 November 2017

First Big Data Case by Penfolds & Alibaba


On Oct. 16, 2017, HFL was invited to the Alibaba Xixi Campus to accompany the IP Counsellor of the Australian Embassy in China, as well as the Director of Global Intellectual Property and the Intellectual Property Manager of Greater China for Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), the brand owners of Penfolds. Representatives from all sides had an in-depth discussion on how to pursue the advancements of IP protection with the support of big data.

Previously, TWE discovered that multiple online shops operating on Alibaba Group’s Taobao.com e-commerce platform were suspected of selling counterfeit Penfolds wines. TWE soon brought the case to the Shanghai PSB Hongkou Branch, which worked closely with the brand owner and Alibaba in the investigation. Given full access to the internet company’s big data capacity and analytical model, the authority was able to locate the infringing manufacturing site and crack it down with high efficiency. With the case successfully closed, the PSB organized a press conference to publicize the proceedings. It was reported that 9 suspects were detained and 14,000 bottles of counterfeiting wines were seized, accounting for over RMB 10 million.

The case is the first of its kind where TWE cacked down infringement with the support of Alibaba’s big data, and also an unprecedented one involving both online and offline cooperation between the two. Along with the authorities, they both demonstrate a tough attitude of zero tolerance towards counterfeits. The efficiency, accuracy and inventory value of the operation also caught the attention of relevant Australian authorities. David Bennett, Director of Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property Counselor of the Australian Embassy in China made a special trip to visit the headquarters of Alibaba Group and contacted Alibaba Brand cooperation and protection team conducting an in-depth discussion on the use of big data in IPR protection. Both parties believed that the role of big data in IPR infringement cases will become increasingly prominent. The cooperation between rights holders and the Alibaba platform is of crucial importance. A win-win cooperation will become one of the major goals of IPR protection in the future.

Following this QR you can find the report on the Hongkou PSB press conference:

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