l Despite big data, Alibaba’s Taobao back in US blacklist
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Category: news    |    Added: 2016-12-22 13:55:02    |    View: 113

The US Trade Representative says IP holders find it difficult to report fakes and get quick action

Alibaba Sign
An Alibaba sign at the company's offices in Hangzhou, China. Credit: Michael Kan
"; adDivString = "
" + adString + "
"; IDG.GPT.defineGoogleTagSlot(slotName ,[[320,50],[300,250],[300,50]]); } placementDiff = applyInsert($(this), adDivString); if (DEBUG) { console.log("Just placed an ad and the placementDiff is: " + placementDiff); } placementTarget = cumulativeHeight + placementDiff + INTERMODULE_HEIGHT + AD_HEIGHT_BUFFER; } else if (moduleCounter < articleDRRModuleList.length){ var elementId = "drr-mod-"+moduleCounter; var moduleDivString = "
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"; } /** * @param jqo Original jquery object target * @param divString The div to be inserted. * @return Difference in height between original placement target and final target. * Checks first 6 elements for an allowable placement (600 pixel window). * If none, place element in first location that does not follow a reject element. */ function applyInsert(jqo, divString) { if (DEBUG) { console.log("applyInsert at top and jqo index is: " + jqo.index()); } for (var i=0; i<=6; i++) { $thisElement = jqo.nextAll().andSelf().slice(i, i+1); if (DEBUG) { console.log("Checking first six and i is: " + i + " and this element index is " + $thisElement.index() ); } if ($thisElement.index() < 0) { break; } if (allowPlacement($thisElement)) { return addElement(jqo, $thisElement, divString); } } if (DEBUG) { console.log("No nearby allows so just place in first spot that is not after reject."); } var numElements = jqo.nextAll().length; var startIndex = jqo.index(); for (var i=startIndex; i<=numElements; i++) { var $element = $("#drr-container").children().eq(i); // This element is eligible when not null, not in placement index, and previous element is not reject if ($element != null && (placementIndex == null || placementIndex.indexOf(i) == -1) && !isReject($element.prev())) { return addElement(jqo, $element, divString); } } if (DEBUG) { console.log("Not going to place element: return 0."); } return 0; } /** * @param jqo Original jquery object * @param allowElement Element that is good placement for module/ad * @param divString The div to be inserted before the good element * @return placementHeightDiff Diff in height between original placement target and current target. * * If element is not too close to the end the insert the div before allowable element. * Add element index to placementIndex to keep track of which elements already have placements */ function addElement(jqo, allowElement, divString) { var offset = allowElement.index() - jqo.index(); if (DEBUG) { console.log("addElement: jqo index is " + jqo.index() + " allowElement index is " + allowElement.index()); } if (elementNotNearEnd(allowElement, RIGHT_PIXEL_WINDOW)) { allowElement.before(divString); if (DEBUG) { console.log("addElement: Adding " + allowElement.index() + " to placementIndex."); } placementIndex.push(allowElement.index()); if (offset == 0) { return 0; } else { return getHeightDifference(jqo,allowElement); } } else { if (DEBUG) { console.log("addElement: Near the end so do NOT add."); } return 0; } } function getHeightDifference(jqo,allowElement) { var offset = allowElement.index() - jqo.index(), height = 0, children = null; if (offset > 0) { children = $("#drr-container").children().slice(jqo.index(), allowElement.index()); } else { children = $("#drr-container").children().slice(allowElement.index(), jqo.index()); } if (children != null) { children.each(function(i) { if (DEBUG) { console.log("About to add this element's height to heigh diff offset"); console.log($(this)); } height += $(this).height() + GRAF_HEIGHT; }); } if (offset < 0) { height *= -1; } if (DEBUG) { console.log("getHeightDifference: offset was " + offset + " and height diff is : " + height); } return height; } function allowPlacement(jqo) { if (jqo.prev() != null && isReject(jqo.prev())) { return false; } return true; } function isReject(jqo) { if (jqo != null) { if (jqo.is('h2') || jqo.is('h3') || jqo.is('h4') || jqo.is('h5')) { if (DEBUG) { console.log("isReject: found header"); } return true; } } return false; } // Returns true if height of all elements after this one is more than 500; false otherwise function elementNotNearEnd(element, pixelWindow) { if (pixelWindow === null) { pixelWindow = 500; } if (element === null) { return false; } var remainingHeight = 0, children = $("#drr-container").children().slice(element.index()); if (children === null) { return false; } children.each(function(i){ remainingHeight += $(this).height(); }); if ( remainingHeight > pixelWindow) { return true; } else { if (DEBUG) { console.log("Element too close to end. 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"; adDivString = "
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"; IDG.GPT.defineGoogleTagSlot(slotName ,[[320,50],[300,250],[300,50]]); } //$('#drr-container > p').first().before(adDivString); //$('#drr-top-ad').append(adDivString); $(adDivString).appendTo('#drr-top-ad'); if (DEBUG) { console.log("-----Just placed an AD currIndex = " + currIndex); } } else if (moduleCounter < articleDRRModuleList.length){ var elementId = "drr-mod-"+moduleCounter; var moduleDivString = "
"; modules.push(elementId); //$('#drr-container > p').first().before(moduleDivString); $('#drr-top-ad').append(moduleDivString); if (DEBUG) { console.log("-----Just placed a MODULE and currIndex = " + currIndex); } moduleCounter++; } } //end for loop IDG.GPT.trackOmniture(); // Add Right rail module content var placeModule = function( data ) { var placementId = $(data).attr("data-placement-id"); $( "#"+placementId ).html( data ); }; for (i=0; i" + adString + "
"; } } // end function executeDRRDesktop()

Alibaba’s Taobao.com marketplace is in the eye of a storm after the U.S. Trade Representative included the vastly popular online Chinese marketplace in the list of ‘Notorious Markets’ for 2016, after a long break.

The list identifies markets that are allegedly "engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting.” The listing carries no penalties but will likely be an embarrassment for Alibaba, which has been trying to burnish its image in international markets.

The move by the USTR comes even as the company claims to have used “big data” technologies to zero in, for example, on 13 factories and shops that were selling knockoff RAM modules under Kingston and Samsung brands, according to Alibaba's news hub Alizila.

Its counterfeit goods monitoring and identification algorithm, for example, monitors about 100 dimensional characteristics, ranging from price to the online shops decorations, transaction records, product-release pattern and consumer complaints. Merchants and goods are rated on a 0 to 100 scale, with 80 usually treated as a red flag.

Another system scrutinizes accounts, products and transactions for 600 different indicators, focusing on seller behavior, product information, consumer reviews and user reports, according to Alizila.  The company also uses optical character recognition and the scanning and analysis of images and logos for suspicious listings.

The USTR charges that right holders in the U.S. and internationally “continue to report serious challenges to reducing high levels of counterfeit and pirated goods on Taobao.” Initial attempts to report intellectual property rights infringement are refused inconsistently and refusals of take-down requests contain little to no justification or guidance on how the right holder can amend its notification to get results. Small businesses do not benefit from a program extended to larger right holders.

The right holders have also complained that error messages stall or prevent use of IP complaint systems and relevant communications to the right holders are not translated from Chinese. Right holders are prevented from directly communicating with Taobao resellers by broken hyperlinks, according to the USTR report.

As a result, one large motor vehicle manufacturer, for example, reported that at least 95 percent of the merchandise with the company’s brand names and trademarks on Alibaba platforms is suspected to be counterfeit.

The Chinese giant has given the development a political twist, with Alibaba Group President Michael Evans claiming that the USTR’s decision leads the company “to question whether the USTR acted based on the actual facts or was influenced by the current political climate.”

Evans claims that in 2016 alone, Alibaba doubled over 2015 the number of infringing product listings it proactively removed from its site. “It is therefore unreasonable for the USTR to have concluded that Alibaba is less effective in anti-counterfeiting than when it reviewed our efforts in 2015 and when it removed us from its list four years ago,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

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