MEMA, AASA Step Up Fight Against Counterfeit Parts Sold Online

Date: October 12, 2016

Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association Once Again Calls for Alibaba.com and its Consumer Portals to Be Identified for Selling Counterfeit Goods

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and its division, the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), are urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to identify popular websites and physical marketplaces known to traffic in counterfeit goods on its annual Notorious Market Report.

Among the websites that MEMA specifically requests be considered for the list are business-to-business web portal Alibaba.com, its consumer portal AliExpress.com, and its consumer-to-consumer portal TaoBao.com. Alibaba.com connects Chinese manufacturers with overseas buyers and is the world's largest retailer, AliExpress.com is an online retail service made up of mostly small Chinese businesses offering products to international online buyers, and TaoBao.com, which functions like eBay.com, is reported to be one of the 20 most-visited sites globally and features nearly a billion products. All three sites are selling counterfeit automotive parts, MEMA and its members argue.

“This is a big problem in the mobility industry, and we need to take action,” said MEMA President and CEO Steve Handschuh. “Counterfeit goods, offered as genuine brands and readily available on popular websites, hurt our economy, put our companies and jobs at risk and imperil public safety.”

“Counterfeit parts harm suppliers and rob them of valuable intellectual property rights,” said Bill Long, president and chief operating officer of AASA, the light vehicle aftermarket division of MEMA. “But perhaps more importantly, they pose a threat to motorists and repair technicians who unknowingly may install inferior and potentially dangerous parts on their vehicles.”

While these and other online sites have been listed in the Notorious Market Report in the past, the USTR removed TaoBao.com from the list in 2012 with the stipulation that it “decrease the time required for taking down listings of counterfeit and pirated goods and to ... achieve a satisfactory outcome with U.S. rights holders and industry associations.” In 2016, after significant input from MEMA and other stakeholders, USTR did not list Alibaba.com or its affiliated websites in the 2015 Report but did specifically direct Alibaba to undertake “stronger and more efficient systems for addressing right holders’ concerns . . . without delay.”

“Urgings by USTR have not proven to be enough,” Handschuh noted. “MEMA member companies continue to experience misrepresentation by Alibaba and its platform websites in dealing with suspected counterfeit products. Despite MEMA member companies attempts to engage and build relationships with Alibaba, counterfeit motor vehicle parts bearing unauthorized trademarks are still sold on the sites.”

The full text of the MEMA USTR letter is available here. MEMA will continue to work with the USTR and enforcement agencies on addressing sales of counterfeit parts to protect the intellectual property rights and brand reputations of its motor vehicle parts supplier members. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2016
CONTACT: Cindy Sebrell, 202-312-9250 and 
csebrell@mema.org

About MEMA

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) and its four specialized divisions comprise the leading international trade association in the fast-changing mobility industry. Representing vehicle suppliers that manufacture and remanufacture components, technologies, and systems for use in passenger cars and heavy trucks, MEMA works to ensure that the marketplace and legislative and regulatory environment support the development and implementation of new technical capabilities transforming the automotive industry, including autonomous vehicles and vehicle connectivity. By directly employing more than 734,000 Americans and generating a total employment impact of 3.6 million jobs, MEMA’s member companies are the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.  MEMA’s members are represented through four divisions: Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) and Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA). For more information on how MEMA is leading transformation in the mobility industry, visit www.mema.org.

About AASA

AASA (www.aftermarketsuppliers.org) exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products which support 710,000 employees in the United States. AASA is a recognized industry change agent – promoting a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members. AASA is the light vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). “AASA, The Voice for the Automotive Aftermarket Supplier Industry.”