The following frequently asked questions and answers have been developed with regards to the IACC’s new General Member category.
1. What is a General Member?
General Member status is reserved for companies who are not directly or substantially impacted by counterfeiting, but whose industry position or policies make them a potential partner for the IACC in its mission to combat counterfeiting and piracy. These companies can include intermediaries, such as e-commerce sites, online marketplaces, internet registrars and registries, online advertising networks, payment providers, or shipping companies.
2. Why create a General Member category?
Counterfeiting is a global problem, and the IACC recognizes that it cannot be addressed by one brand or industry alone. It is important to engage all sectors in developing practical and effective solutions to the problem, and intermediaries play an important role in these discussions and as part of the solution.
History tells us that when intermediaries publicly commit to working collaboratively with rights-holders, they become more accountable and more reliable partners. Accordingly, the General Member category, approved by the IACC Board of Directors, offers other IACC members a new opportunity to work with intermediaries to develop effective tools to address the trafficking of counterfeit goods.
3. What is the difference between General Members and other membership categories?
The IACC represents the interests and concerns of brand owners. Its mission is to combat counterfeiting and piracy by promoting laws, regulations, directives, and relationships designed to render the theft of intellectual property undesirable and unprofitable. General Members may take advantage of IACC member benefits but are excluded from the following: serving on the IACC Board of Directors, taking leadership positions in the IACC Member Groups, and nominating or voting on IACC Board candidates.
General Members’ membership status at the IACC will also be reviewed every year to determine whether the members’ IP protection actions continue to demonstrate its commitment to combating counterfeiting and piracy.
See here for more information about Membership Benefits.
4. When did the IACC decide to create a General Member category?
In early 2015 and in furtherance of our collaborative strategy, the IACC’s Board engaged in a series of discussions regarding the eligibility of intermediaries and other similarly-situated partners (e.g., online marketplaces, internet registrars and registries, online advertising networks, payment providers, or shipping companies) under the organization’s bylaws. A determination was made that these companies can play an integral role in combating the trafficking of counterfeit goods, a fact that has been borne out by our collaboration with the payment processors in recent years. The new General Member category was created to permit membership, while keeping in mind that the nature of their business would require strict monitoring and controls to ensure that they upheld their obligation to protect intellectual property. The IACC Board passed the decision unanimously in October/November 2015.
5. Alibaba joined as the first General Member. Is the company the only company to take advantage of this membership category?
We commend Alibaba for becoming the IACC’s first General Member. Based on the success of the IACC and Alibaba’s partnership through IACC MarketSafe® and the potential to expand the collaboration, the Board approved Alibaba’s membership application. Following the announcement of the new General Member category, we welcomed two additional companies. We continue to field requests from other intermediary companies who are interested in joining, showing that there is an appetite to engage and discuss solutions to counterfeiting and piracy across all industries.
See here for a full list of our members.
6. How are General Members vetted?
Like all member applications, companies applying for General Membership are reviewed by and voted on by the IACC Board of Directors. For General Member candidates, the scope of the problem on the candidate’s own business is taken into consideration, in addition to its commitment to protecting IP and to working with the IACC. All General Members, once admitted, will be subject to an annual review process by the Board to determine whether the member continues to uphold its efforts and commitment to protecting IP. After admission, the IACC may also take additional measures to ensure that the General Member is actively engaging with the organization to address anti-counterfeiting issues.