Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alibaba hires ex-U.S. official to lobby in Washington

News this week: The Alibaba Group announced it has hired former general counsel of the U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR), James Mendenhall, to aid its discussions with the U.S. government and industry groups over intellectual property rights protection.

In addition to the hiring of James Mendenhall, Alibaba also contracted Washington lobbying firm Duberstein Group last year.

Alibaba is currently appealing to the U.S. Government to remove the company’s B2C e-commerce platform, Taobao, from the U.S.’s list of “notorious markets” for piracy. Over 30 online and physical markets worldwide were identified in a report released by the USTR in December 2011.

Alibaba is also in talks with U.S. industry groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America regarding intellectual property rights protection.

John Spelich, spokesman for Alibaba Group, was quoted saying, “We are having good discussions. It’s an exchange: here’s what we have done, here’s what we are working on, and let’s get some feedback about the kind of thing you are interested in seeing.”

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