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Alibaba hires a former Apple investigator to fight counterfeit goods

December 21, 2015 09:16 AM
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(Bloomberg)—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. named Matthew Bassiur, who helped Apple Inc. root out fake iPhones and investigate copyright infringement, to lead international efforts to rid its e-commerce platforms of counterfeit goods.

Bassiur, a former Pfizer Inc. vice president and computer crimes prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, will oversee intellectual property protection at Alibaba from New York and work with global brands to fight infringement starting January, the company said in an emailed statement.

Shaking off its reputation as a haven for knock-offs is becoming more important as billionaire co-founder Jack Ma envisions Alibaba getting at least half its revenue from overseas in a decade. The Hangzhou, China-based company heads into 2016 after a bruising year that saw more than $50 billion wiped from the value of its U.S. listed shares amid lawsuits and criticism from Chinese and U.S.regulators.

The company was warned last week by the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative that it had to do better to stay off the “Notorious Markets” blacklist it escaped only in 2012. The federal agency’s key areas of criticism included a lack of transparency and tardiness in addressing problems.

“We will continue to be relentless in our long-term commitment to protect both consumers and intellectual property rights owners,” Ma said in Monday’s statement.

Bassiur, who taught IP law at Beijing’s Renmin University as part of a Fulbright Scholars’ program, has “deep familiarity” with China, the company said. As head of global intellectual property enforcement, he will report to Alibaba President Michael Evans.

 

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