In collaboration with the British Embassy Beijing, CBBC ran an Online IP Programme to help British brand owners better enforce their IP on the Chinese Internet. This includes cooperation agreements with Alibaba.com, Tencent, JD.com. CBBC’s formal cooperation with Alibaba Group goes back to 2014 when an agreement was signed during the visit to China of UK’s then IP Minister. A major strand the Alibaba cooperation is all about improving offline enforcement actions, by facilitating better use of illicit sales data and sharing it with brand owners and the police.
Working under the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in September 2014, CBBC and Alibaba worked behind the scenes throughout, cooperating with investigators who continued to provide Chinese police with intelligence relating to the on-the-ground activities of the criminals. In a simultaneous coordinated action, Chinese police raided premises of the criminal network across several Chinese provinces, detaining 11 suspects, including the dramatic arrest of a ringleader at the airport.
In the initial raids, 50,000 barrels of fake lubricant were confiscated and destroyed, with a street value of 100 million yuan (approx £9 million). When looking into the sales records, investigators discovered that the criminal network had been importing oils from Malaysia into China for at least 5 years, giving a total estimated revenue of around 500 million yuan (£45 million).
The case has been recognised for its size and influence, winning first place in the Typical Cases for Chinese Customs, and Castrol and Shell have been recognised for their success too by the Quality Brands Protection Committee’s Top 10 Best Cases in IP Protection awards.
Regional Vice President of Castrol China Lubricants said: “We are encouraged by the efforts of the Chinese authorities in clamping down on counterfeiting networks. We would also like to acknowledge the support rendered to the given case by China Britain-Business Council, UK IP attaché (Beijing) and the British Embassy in China.”
Senior Legal Counsel of Shell (China) said: “Our case against counterfeited lubricants imported from Malaysia last year was a huge success, greatly supported by the UK Embassy in China (IP Attaché) and the China-Britain Business Council. They played a very important role for us to work with Chinese government authorities much more efficiently.”
In 2016 CBBC introduced the legal counsel of Castrol and Shell to Alibaba’s Platform Governance Division to discuss the issue of counterfeit engine oils seen for sale on various e-commerce platforms in China.
About the China-Britain Business Council
The China-Britain Business Council (“CBBC”) helps British and Chinese businesses and organizations work together in China, the UK and third markets around the world. With over 60 years’ experience and experts in 11 UK offices and 15 Chinese locations, it operates alongside the British Chamber of Commerce in China, and is strategic partner of the British Government. Its diverse 1,000-strong membership includes some of the UK’s largest and most established companies, many of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative SMEs, as well as leading Chinese firms.