Gucci’s meets Impostors: The Fight Against Counterfeiting Part I


From obscure Chinese traditions to online marketplaces like Alibaba, Gucci’s authenticity faced threats.

Gucci, the big-name luxury brand, hasn’t been immune to these copycats. Despite all its efforts to build its brand and ensure quality, it has fallen victim to counterfeits. Did you know that knockoff fashion items cost the fashion industry a massive estimated loss of around $98 billion each year?

And Gucci’s counterfeits happen to occupy the majority of it. It faced a significant challenge in combating counterfeit products, ranging from handbags and clothing to accessories and perfumes.

Luxury brands like Gucci are particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting due to their high market value and desirability. Counterfeiting negatively influences a brand’s reputation, revenue, and consumer trust. Gucci has encountered increasing counterfeit items over the years, resulting in huge losses and continuous issues.

This blog delves into the realm of Gucci’s battle against its copycats using various strategies.

“The Obscure Chinese Tradition: China, a country with a rich cultural history, also plays a strange role in Gucci’s counterfeiting struggle. One Chinese ritual involves burning counterfeit products as a symbolic tribute to their deceased loved ones. Gucci replied to this uncommon practice in 2016 by urging Hong Kong sellers not to sell fraudulent products, even if it meant destroying them.”

Gucci’s efforts to combat counterfeiting dates back to the 2000s. It has used microprinting and holograms to tackle cloning. But, the efficacy of holograms and microprinting have been outdated long ago for counterfeiters to evolve with the brands, too. As time passed, microprinting and holograms could be replicated to astonishing accuracies. The inefficacies of these methods are reflected in the counterfeiting statistics over the following years. 

Following that, the brand has majorly relied on Legal actions against counterfeiting.

Their ruthless IP & Legal Team:

Gucci established an in-house intellectual property team, which is critical in the brand’s anti-counterfeiting operations. This team is in charge of removing counterfeit product listings from multiple sites. 

Gucci’s legal staff is continually monitoring counterfeit operations to suit them. They filed an extensive number of lawsuits against counterfeiters and sellers, seeking monetary penalties and a halt to counterfeit manufacturing. Following are some of the prominent stories.

The rise of e-commerce has brought with it a new set of challenges. Due to the enormous number of transactions and the difficulties in regulating them, e-commerce websites have become sources to promote and execute counterfeiting. Alibaba, a Chinese E-commerce giant, proves to be an interesting case. Gucci’s parent company, Kering, sued Alibaba, the e-commerce Giant, in 2015. Kering said that Alibaba’s ecosystem enabled counterfeiting uncontrollably. It claimed that Alibaba was promoting an environment for counterfeiters to thrive by selling keywords such as “replica” on its online marketplace.

“Gucci made an audacious choice in 2016 by leaving the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition. This decision was made in direct response to the Coalition’s acceptance of the Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba as a member. Gucci’s exit reflected the luxury industry’s dissatisfaction with Alibaba’s alleged role in fostering counterfeiting.”

In 2020, the team made incredible progress by removing four million counterfeit product listings, seizing 4.1 million counterfeit products, shutting down 45,000 websites, and deactivating countless social media accounts.

Gucci’s campaign against counterfeiting did not end with the breakup with the Coalition. They teamed up with Facebook in 2021 to file a groundbreaking lawsuit against counterfeit vendors on social media platforms. This collaborative effort with Facebook represents Gucci’s efforts to tackle illegal duping.

In the next blog, we shall discuss the other strategies and battles Gucci was associated with. 

Click here to go to the part II of this blog

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