Case Study – IPR/Trademark Issue While Alibaba Product Promotion

Copyright infringement and breach of trademark are the sensitive issues rising in this digital edge, where there are tough competitions among the companies to get international business market. Hence; digital marketing platforms like Google, defining the user promotion policies more strict to be in line with individual countries and global laws to avoid legal disputes among users as well to the third party. These global platforms have drafted their legal policies covering the broad aspects due to which sometimes even if you are not in fault, you may be trapped and cost to high.

Here we have presented a case study of in which one of our clients, who is an OEM and private label manufacturer of oral care, baby care, hair care and skin care products, have been panelised due to trademark issue, though the mistake was from and our digital marketing team has dug out the facts and revealed the truth that made clear to them and enforced to update their category, which was misleading to the users.

The Insight of Case-
Being as a digital marketing company since 1998, we are quite familiar with the importance of Trademark and copyright. So we insist our clients also to follow the same to avoid any legal disputes arising through marketing aspects on or Google.

As you know that Vaseline is a registered trademark of Uniliver and they are selling petroleum jelly products as a brand name Vaseline. So no one can sell their petroleum jelly as Vaseline except Uniliver. But, Vaseline word is so popular among the users that it has become synonym of petroleum jelly. This makes a mistake among users and the same blunders did at

Alibaba platform gave category of Vaseline to select, instead of Petroleum Jelly. So but obvious, when you don’t have category option of Petroleum Jelly, you will select Vaseline as only Category to promote your product. The same did at our end, though we haven’t utilized word Vaseline anywhere in our product content except at category selection as Alibaba didn’t left any other choice to place our client’s petroleum jelly product.

Initially that worked well without any glitch. But after few months, one day suddenly our client got mail from that our petroleum jelly products are panelised based on complaint made by Uniliver for using their Trademark Vaseline in category.

We were shocked that why products panelised, while we had followed the policy guideline. After telephonic and Chat discussion with Alibaba India and China IPR (Intellectual property rights) team, we came to know that Uniliver complained of infringement of their “trademark Vaseline”, while promoting our client’s petroleum jelly products.

Our team started internal investigation to find out the cause behind the penalty. We went through the entire submission process step by step and found that Vaseline word was not at all used in our product posting process, but the selection category “Vaseline” was imposed along with one attribute to select white/yellow petroleum jelly.

With further mail and chat communication, we could convince Alibaba IPR team that the category issue was of them and not of ours. There was only “Vaseline” Category left out, instead of Petroleum Jelly to select from. With our technical and logical explanations and continuous follow-ups, their core management team understood the fault and technical discrepancy at their end and immediately withdrawn the imposed penalty to our posted products. They also defined “Petroleum Jelly” category in My Alibaba at backend with auto allocation of our all petroleum jelly products to this new created category. They also set new rule, not to enable Attribute of White Petroleum Jelly or Yellow petroleum jelly, if you are dealing in petroleum jelly other than Vaseline.

Bottom Line
To promote any product/service online on any platform, one must have in-depth knowledge about the platform specific guidelines and privacy policy. Second, if your product is generic, you must check well that its promotions must not be clashed with brand products of same category. Use unique and your own copyrighted content and Trademark only. And in case if you are trapped somehow even after die hard precautions, go through the entire Alibaba product promotion cycle step wise and find out the clause, where you have made mistake or which might be false interpreted either at your end or promotion platform end and clarify. You can also take the expert advice and the best way to approach the right promotion agency having enough expertise and experience in digital marketing to promote your products/services in a right way.