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Alibaba sued for allegedly listing counterfeit items

Despite earlier efforts to scrub counterfeit items from its listings, the Chinese online retail giant allowed counterfeiters to list their wares, according to a new lawsuit from several luxury goods makers.

A new lawsuit accuses Alibaba of not doing enough to banish counterfeit goods from its site. PETER PARKS/AFP/GettyImages

A new lawsuit filed by a luxury brands maker accuses Chinese online retail giant Alibaba of conspiring in the manufacture and sale of counterfeit products.

Luxury brands from Paris-based Kering, whose brands include Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and other luxury brands, charged in the lawsuit on Friday that Alibaba had knowingly made it possible for counterfeiters to sell imitations of their products throughout the world.

A spokesman for Alibaba Group responded in an email: "We continue to work in partnership with numerous brands to help them protect their intellectual property, and we have a strong track record of doing so. Unfortunately, Kering Group has chosen the path of wasteful litigation instead of the path of constructive cooperation. We believe this complaint has no basis and we will fight it vigorously."

This is the second lawsuit filed against the retail giant in the past year from Kering, which previously withdrew a similar suit in July while it worked toward a resolution with Alibaba.

The lawsuit alleged that Alibaba "provided the marketplace advertising and other essential services necessary for counterfeiters to sell their counterfeit products to customers in the United States."

When Alibaba filed for its massive initial public offering in the US a year ago, it took aim at counterfeiters and pirates who sell products through its e-commerce sites.

One company in 2014 reported that it discovered a counterfeit version of its products on Alibaba, and, within days, the listing was removed. In February of last year, Alibaba reported that it had removed over 100 million allegedly counterfeit products from its listings, according to Reuters.