Alibaba Names Counterfeiting Enforcement Chief

Alibaba Group has hired an ex-Apple and Pfizer investigator to head up the company’s anti-counterfeiting efforts. Yesterday, the company announced it has named Matthew Bassiur as vice president, head of global intellectual property enforcement. Bassiur will begin in January.

“Counterfeiting is a problem that challenges all forms of distribution, whether in e-commerce or offline retail,” Jack Ma, executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said in a statement. “We will continue to be relentless in our long-term commitment to protect both consumers and intellectual property rights owners, and we call on all companies in our industry to join our fight against bad actors.”

Earlier this year, Alibaba revamped its counterfeiting procedures in response to mounting complaints of fake goods on its Taobao and Alibaba platforms. Despite speculation to the contrary, Alibaba was recently able to avoid being re-added to the U.S. government’s “notorious” markets list, which names markets that engage or allow counterfeit activity. ( and Taobao were previously on the list from 2008 until 2011 and 2012.)

However, in its report on notorious markets, the Office of the United States Trade Representative said “it is unclear what effect these procedures are having on the overall prevalence of counterfeit goods on the Alibaba platforms, particularly Taobao. Furthermore, submissions this year from trademark holders in several industries do not report improvement of the underlying problem.” The report adds that information from companies who participated in Alibaba’s enforcement program found it “too slow, difficult to use, and lacks transparency,” and urges Alibaba to make additional improvements.

At Apple, Bassiur oversaw the company’s investigative program for thefts and leaks and also developed and implemented the company’s anti-counterfeiting program. Prior to Apple he was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section, as well as an assistant district attorney in New York.