12.12.2023 | by Lili
AliExpress has received a letter from the European Commission asking about the measures the platform takes to combat the trade of illegal products. This is not just friendly correspondence. In fact, since the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) came into force, AliExpress and many other companies have to adhere to much stricter rules than before.
Designed to create fairer and safer conditions online, the DSA aims to eradicate illegal content and ensure the transparent operation of actors. For this purpose, the DSA differentiates between four categories of actors: intermediary services, hosting services, online platforms and very large online platforms. The specific rules a company has to comply with depend on its size and category.
As the European Commission designated AliExpress as a very large platform, it has to adhere to the most extensive set of rules outlined by the DSA, including reporting criminal offences, vetting their third party suppliers, as well as sharing their crisis response and risk management protocols.
And this is exactly why the Commission now requires AliExpress to disclose what measures it takes to protect consumers from the dangers of illegal products distributed online, with particular emphasis on fake medicines.
Illustration of several types of pills all mixed together
According to Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton, the DSA is “there to ensure removal of illegal or unsafe products sold in the EU via e-Commerce platforms, including the growing number of fake and potentially life-threatening medicines and pharmaceuticals sold online.”
AliExpress’ reply was expected by 27 November. Based on what the platform disclosed, the Commission has to assess next steps and potentially even open formal proceedings that may result in penalty fines.
Although AliExpress has an IP protection policy, the marketplace is no stranger to counterfeiting. In fact, the platform is repeatedly featured in the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual reviews of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.
According to this document, “AliExpress is a dominant upstream distributor of counterfeit goods in wholesale quantities.” Although the platform requires its sellers to submit their business information and/or national identification number, these can be forged or stolen from other businesses.
Unfortunately we can attest to the findings of the USTR’s review: AliExpress is indeed a platform preferred by fraudulent sellers. Over the years, we have established excellent cooperation with the marketplace and whenever we report a listing, AliExpress reacts to our demand and removes the infringing listing as soon as possible.
Screenshot of aliexpress.com’s homepage
Luckily, AliExpress has access to the Alibaba Group’s IP Protection platform, which makes our work of submitting fraudulent listings much faster and more efficient.
At the time of writing this article, AliExpress’ reply to the Commission hasn’t been made public. However, it’s safe to assume that the Commission will evaluate the contents of the reply and take next steps based on what it has learned. The Commission may demand further information, or may even launch formal procedures against the platform.
globaleyez’s versatile and comprehensive online brand protection services are perfect for detecting IP infringing content on AliExpress - and everywhere else both off and online.
We launched our marketplace monitoring service for scenarios where fraudulent sellers publish listings on online marketplaces. With keyword-based searches, our powerful software tool traxster detects potentially IP infringing listings on over 150 marketplaces worldwide, AliExpress included.
To extend the scope of our search, we recommend a round of image monitoring as well. With this service, we catch image-based infringements like ads, product pictures, etc. anywhere on the internet, which comes in very handy when we’re connecting the dots between seemingly independent IP infringements.
When we need to learn more about the origins of a product and/or investigate a certain seller, a test purchase is the perfect solution. With researchers all over the world, we can provide fast, anonymous and effective test purchases in over 50 countries.
Finally, we can enforce your rights and demand the removal of the infringing listing(s) from any platform, including AliExpress.
We at globaleyez welcome the stricter rules introduced by the DSA, as they’re expected to make the internet a safer space for brands and consumers alike. However, fraudsters won’t give up that easily and will find new ways to infiltrate online marketplaces like AliExpress.
Get ready to protect your brand and your invaluable IP rights! Contact us today and let’s create a comprehensive online brand protection strategy completely tailor-made for your brand’s needs.