Building Trust in the Digital Economy: Respecting IPR Online The French Preventive Solutions Against Infringements and Counte

By Jean-Baptiste BARBIER, IP Counsellor, French Embassy Beijing (INPI) David SAUSSINAN, Legal and Public Affairs Manager – Un,[Trademark]

  This is the success story of a government which managed to decrease counterfeiting on online platforms by facilitating the adoption of fair trade standards to protect intellectual property rights online. The solutions described in the following paragraphs are royalty free and available for any business wishing to improve customer protection, to develop a safer and more reliable digital environment, to promote a more balanced cooperation between trademark owners and internet companies and to ultimately build greater respect for IP on the internet …
  A Necessary Response to A Serious Issue for Consumers and Businesses Alike
  In 2008, the French government made the fight against online counterfeiting the top priority on its national intellectual property policy agenda. The situation was critical at that time: the dramatic increase of online sales of fake products triggered waves of complaints from aggrieved consumers and of litigation cases between brand owners and e-commerce platforms, damaging the public image of e-commerce.The key issues at stake were twofold: how could we stop online sales of counterfeit products without harming the booming business of e-commerce ; which reasonable and concrete measures would be most successful in doing so. The French government established a supervised dialogue between e-commerce platforms and IPR holders. Both parties agreed to cooperate in order to set up preventive measures and reactive procedures.
  Filtering as the Key for Efficient Detection: Immediate and Inspiring Results
  Since then the volume of online fake products significantly decreased , and so did the number of claims. A direct and solid dialogue is now well established between government and stakeholders, with a proven capacity to constantly adapt the tools at hand. Assessments regularly highlight the positive impact of these solutions. This soft law providing efficient preventive solutions has become a standard in France. Abroad, this “Charter of trust’’ is also widely promoted as an example of good practice. It has already inspired a similar initiative adopted at the European Union level in 2011. In 2012, IPR owners signed two additional agreements in France with free small ads platforms and postal operators.In 2014, a national awareness campaign was launched. In France and in Europe, the challenge is now to widen the scope of this type of cooperation by including other intermediaries such as advertising service providers, payment services and shippers.
  Paving the Road for Better IPR Enforcement Online in China
  It is crucial to tackle the problem before it becomes too big. Since 2014, action taken by France includes regular messages to establish a dialogue at every level of the Chinese Government, administrations and major internet companies. In June 2015, a delegation of experts from France, headed by Senator Richard YUNG, President of the National Anti-Counterfeiting Committee (CNAC), came to Beijing to share our experience with the relevant administrations. In particular, discussions are focusing on how to create new standards for e-commerce supervision.
  Enforcement authorities are increasingly more active in tracking criminal counterfeiting chains, controlling products quality and market supervision.At the end of 2015, an encouraging step was issued by the State Council Opinion on Strengthening Governance of Internet – Infringements and Counterfeiting on the Internet.This new policy announces orientations including the supervision according to the law but also the technical support using big data and networking, the implementation of responsibility and the definition of the regulatory framework.
  Pragmatic Result Oriented Dialogues to Experiment Preventive Solutions
  French authorities are facilitating several concrete dialogues between French companies, supported by the Industry Association Unifab, and major Chinese e-commerce platforms, social media and search engines. Mutual exchange of information is the starting point. Although improving the We are committed to creating financial and reputational value by eliminating a harmful problem for both platforms and IPR owners, but first and foremost for the final consumers.
  notice & take down process is essential to build trust, automatic preventive solutions using big data is the key to stop the problem more systematically.
  Therefore, French stakeholders are dedicated to provide assistance for the implementation of such filters. Our approach is “NO MoU, FIRST WE DO ! ” Detecting obvious and recurring fake offers and infringers is technically possible and useful for both sides. At the last meeting with the top level management of Alibaba, the French Industry Association (Unifab) estimated that almost 80% of the reported ads could have been automatically detected with our suggested filters and therefore not posted on Taobao. Both parties agreed to work in a very pragmatic way to find appropriate solutions for each problem. IPR owners defines objectives and provides information, the platform is creating suitable technological tools. Top priority efficient preventive filters consist in analyzing offers contents automatically (prior to publication online) such as :
  -Using keywords in association with trademark, company name or geographical indication
  - Removing products not manufactured by IPR owners and products whose origin is illegal
  -Preventing the use of blurry pictures or logos -Preventing large quantities and unrealistically low prices
  -Checking seller’s information using various criteria, analysing sellers’ profiles and behaviours and detecting repeat offenders.
  As a result of our cooperation, Alibaba promised that the anticounterfeit team will have access to an unlimited budget and unlimited manpower, using the internet’s methods such as big data technology to solve the problem. Yet, the results are still to come. French companies are hoping that actions will follow the words… At the same time, Jingdong Mall (JD.com) declared that respecting IPR and fighting against counterfeiting on its C2C platform has become too difficult.As a consequence, Paipai.com is closed now.
  Business Perspectives Based on Mutual Trust
  The ultimate objective of our dialogues is to build a better business environment, both for French enterprises and Chinese internet companies. We are committed to creating financial and reputational value by eliminating a harmful problem for both platforms and IPR owners, but first and foremost for the final consumers.Indeed we are not only talking about luxury products but also about cosmetics, electrical and electronic products, decoration materials, children’s products as well as clothing and shoes, food and drugs which means public health and security concerns, with the consequences that we could all imagine.
  Trust is global, trust is a whole. Trust can only be built through win-win cooperation and implementation of sustainable and efficient equitable solutions. We are not here to discuss legal issues or to elaborate on what could be the responsibility of each party. We are here to pragmatically experiment fair trade business standards which have already demonstrated good results elsewhere, in France and Europe. This is why the French authorities and stakeholders are sharing this experience of the implementation of good-balanced solutions thanks to information exchanges. French companies are providing their assistance in elaborating preventive and proactive mechanisms to tackle more automatically obvious and recurring fake offers and infringers. Meanwhile, Chinese authorities are working on new methods of supervision, eventually with the standardization of technical support using big data and networking…
  In China as well, preventive solutions could soon become the new standard for another successful experience. However, to achieve this goal, more International and Chinese enterprises should integrate similar approach and requirements in their dialogue with internet companies in China. Only by working all together we can ensure IPR are better respected online.

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