Gucci v. Alibaba: A Balanced Approach to Secondary Liability for E-Commerce Platforms

January 15, 2016

This Recent Development discusses the future of secondary liability for e-commerce platforms whose users sell counterfeit goods in the wake of the ongoing Gucci v. Alibaba litigation. Should the plaintiffs prevail, e-commerce platforms will be held accountable to cooperate with brand owners by removing infringing listings in a timely fashion and sanctioning users who sell counterfeits in an effective manner, resulting in a more brand-protective environment than that under the current Tiffany v. eBay standard. Such a result will compel e-commerce platforms to share the burden of policing counterfeiters with trademark owners, working together to combat trademark infringement. Not only will this be a more effective means of discouraging appropriation, but it will also reinforce public policy goals and ultimately benefit trademark owners, e-commerce platforms, and consumers.