The online marketplace continues to generate a vast number of fresh opportunities for businesses, such as the opening up of global trade channels to manufacturers and retailers that were previously restricted to their own local market.  However, these opportunities come with very real risks and traders are becoming increasingly concerned about the sale of counterfeit goods through eCommerce stores such as Ali Express and the sale of re-branded copied goods through B2B websites such as Tao Bao.

There are a number of ways that brands can respond to online counterfeits and businesses can now take further comfort that the Ali Baba group has a new weapon in its arsenal. Ali Baba has recently partnered with Visualead to launch the Blue Stars platform which enables manufacturers to print labels with unique codes for each individual product package. The unique codes appear as “dotless visual codes”, which are similar to QR codes, but more brand friendly as they can embed a colorful image on 90% of the code’s surface.  When customers receive an item with the Blue Stars code on it they can scan it using the Alibaba Group’s app and receive information about it, including confirmation that the goods are authentic. L’Oréal and Ferrero are two of the launch partners of the Blue Stars program.

The Blue Stars Program adds to the more traditional ways that brands can fight counterfeits, such as taking action through a third party site’s specific take-down policies and procedures, for example the eBay VeRO removals program, or issuing legal proceedings seeking to restrain the conduct.