Alibaba Sues Alibabacoin Foundation over Trademark

Alibaba has taken Dubai-based Alibabacoin Foundation to court for misleading the public through its choice of name. Alibabacoin conducted an ICO and raised funds from institutional and retail investors.

China’s Alibaba Group has filed a US lawsuit against Dubai-based Alibabacoin Foundation for confusing the public with the “prominent, repeated, and intentionally misleading” use of its trademark. The e-commerce giant has initiated proceedings in a Manhattan district court, Reuters reported.

Alibabacoin issued a digital currency of the same name and distributed it via an initial coin offering (ICO), raising over $3.5 million.

After the lawsuit was filed, Judge Kimba Wood issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) and set April 11 as the date on which Alibabacoin must explain why it should be allowed to use this name with impunity. The aim of the lawsuit is to prevent further violations and compensate Alibaba for alleged infringements of US and New York State laws.

Alibaba accuses Alibabacoin of “single-minded focus to capitalize on plaintiff’s reputation for success” by benefiting from its trademarks “without alteration, in countless instances” to raise capital from the sale of digital currency.

Alibaba has previously said it has no interest in getting involved with cryptocurrencies. However, the sale of Alibabacoin sparked much confusion that has spread through the online space and media channels. The Dubai-based company has “done nothing to combat or correct this confusion,” the complaint states.

Reuters could not reach Alibabacoin for comments, and the law firm representing the company left without response requests for comment from the news agency.

On March 26, Alibabacoin Foundation told FinanceMagnates that it had no “particular correlation, affiliate, agreement, partnership, nor any contract whatsoever with Alibaba.com.” The organization explained it was legally approved in Dubai and Belarus and rejects any claims that the foundation is a scam looking to profit from the name of the e-commerce giant.

Last year, Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial was betting on blockchain and smart contracts to support rental property management.