The kerfuffle over Alibaba’s involvement with the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition has expanded, with Tiffany & Co. as the latest luxury retailer taking their ball and going home.
In a letter to the IACC yesterday, Tiffany & Co. stated the fact of its departure from the D.C. based activist group, but did not offer any explanation according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.
Tiffany & Co. is the latest high-profile brand to resign from one of the world’s largest anti-counterfeiting groups after the organization admitted Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as a member in April.
In an email to the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition on Wednesday, Tiffany & Co. said it was stepping off the board and withdrawing from the Washington, D.C.-based coalition as a member. The letter, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, didn’t cite a reason for the departure.
Tiffany, however, is not the first high-profile dropout. Earlier this week, both Gucci and Michael Kors walked out on the IACC — both explicitly citing Alibaba being allowed to join the group as a primary reason for their departures.
“[Alibaba gives] cover to our most dangerous and damaging adversary,” Michael Kors wrote in a statement.
The IACC has noted its plans to “review all of our policies and procedures to confirm that they meet the highest standards and that our corporate governance fits the size and scope of the IACC we have become,” though they offered no direct quote on the recent spate of resignations, other than to note that Tiffany is part of the board that voted unanimously for Alibaba’s admission — and that it “stands by its decision.”
Alibaba and IACC has recently announced plans to extend a program to make it faster and easier to remove fake goods from Alibaba’s eCommerce sites.
Alibaba, in a statement, said that only by working with brands and the industry can marketplaces make “serious progress’’ on its counterfeiting problem. Alibaba has closed more than 5,000 online storefronts and removed more than 180,000 infringing product listings, it said.