The protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the digital economy requires the collaboration of all stakeholders across borders, Chinese and British speakers agreed at Alibaba's Business and IPR Protection Summit held here on Wednesday.
The event was co-hosted by government agencies, industry associations and academic institutions.
"We are committed to maintaining a robust international IP (intellectual property) network. We greatly value the close collaboration that we enjoy with the China IP offices and our e-commerce partner Alibaba, with which we are co-hosting this event," said Ros Lynch, copyright and IP enforcement director at the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (UKIPO).
She said that, together with the Chinese e-commerce giant, UKIPO will work towards reducing sales of counterfeit goods on global e-commerce sites.
"Legitimate businesses should be able to trade with confidence knowing that they are protected by their intellectual property rights," she stressed. "Consumers will be safeguarded, too."
"Everybody is part of the solution. We cannot fight counterfeiters alone," said Matthew Bassiur, vice president and head of global IP enforcement at the Alibaba Group.
He noted that the London summit focused on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are believed to be the engines of economic growth around the world and are doing business in great numbers across Alibaba's platforms. "This summit is not just about the business opportunities available to SMEs but also about the tools and resources available to them in IPR protection," he said.
"SMEs are a core part of the UK's economic engine, and the ACG (Anti-Counterfeiting Group) welcomes opportunities to help grow their businesses and protect their IP rights," said Phil Lewis, director general of ACG, a UK-based international association that fights against global trade in counterfeit goods and was also the co-host of the event.
The conference, with more than 300 attendees, mostly SMEs, brought together external stakeholders engaged in IPR protection. In addition to UKIPO and ACG, it was also co-hosted by the City of London Police; a law enforcement agency in London; the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC); a trade and investment promotion organization; and King's College.
"Alibaba backs its words with action when it comes to IPR enforcement. Today's summit is one more example of Alibaba's commitment to engage and collaborate with external stakeholders," said Peter Ratcliffe, detective superintendent at the City of London Police.
"There's no magic pill or secret weapon," said Bassiur, who was a prosecutor for 11 years on both state and federal levels in the U.S. He said it was only through real collaboration and honest dialog among all stakeholders that an e-commerce company like Alibaba could be most effective in its IPR protection efforts.