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Luxury brands step back from mediation over Alibaba after Founder, Ma quoted as saying no compromise possible
When a collection of brands within the Kering Group sued the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba in New York last May for knowingly making it possible for counterfeiters to sell fakes on the site Alibaba suggested that it would accept arbitration by a US judge.
The value of that mediation has been thrown into confusion after the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba, Jack Ma, was quoted in Forbes magazine saying “I would [rather] lose the case, lose the money... But we would gain our dignity and respect”
Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, two of the Kering brands involved, indicated to the judge that they felt that mediation would be futile given the predisposition of Alibaba who appeared not to be entering mediation in good faith. In response Alibaba indicated that the quote had been made to the magazine prior to Kering agreeing to go to mediation.
In response Judge Kevin Castel has urged the parties to continue with mediation, which has yet to begin.
Alibaba is by far China’s biggest e-commerce business and although it indicates it is constantly clamping down on the business has a reputation for freely allowing fake products to be sold on its site.