China’s e-Commerce Law will become effective on January 1, 2019. The key question here is how this would impact Western brands’ anti-counterfeiting / take down strategies in China. The answer is… not much at the moment.
The new rules are mostly about the smaller mom-and-pop shops selling homemade products which are not likely to be takedown targets anyway. One part that’s most likely to have an impact on the overall takedown / anti-counterfeiting strategy is the fact that an infringing link will be restored if no civil action or AIC complaint is filed within 15 days once the complaint has been forwarded to the seller. This is connected with Article 43 of the Law where the eCommerce platform providers not only have the responsibilities to brand owners but also to their respective customers (i.e., sellers). This is likely to have an impact to the overall takedown and anti counterfeiting strategies if Taobao / Alibaba decides to implement this rule strictly and literally.
Any predictions at this point are premature. Neither Alibaba nor Taobao has made it clear how they would incorporate and implement the Law into their respective platforms (if at all). Taobao did send out a two-page memo and our takeaway from last week’s Alibaba IP Summit is that they are considering the New Law and working on the detailed guidelines — We suspect the detailed guidelines will be announced round Spring of 2019 which should help answer most of the questions related to China’s New E-Commerce Law.