If we remember rightly it always was AliBaba and the den of 40 Thieves . When using the original AliBaba commerce site back in those dim distant naughties the service always reminded us of that den. Now it looks as though the Jeff Bezos of China isn’t very happy with Dubai-based company, AlibabaCoin. Who, we’d suggest, might actually have the cultural right to use the name. Then again when large sums of money are in play, as we know, all bets are off.
On Monday, Alibaba filed a trademark lawsuit against Alibabacoin Foundation, an unrelated company that seems to have raised $3.5 million through an initial coin offering.
On April 2, 2018, Chinese conglomerate Alibaba (market cap $446 billion) filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Manhattan against Alibabacoin (ABBC) Foundation, a recently-created, Dubai-based company in the midst of an initial coin offering (ICO). Through its sale of “Alibabacoins,” the ABBC Foundation has ostensibly raised over $3.5 million.
In Monday’s complaint, Alibaba asserted that the ABBC Foundation has utilized “prominent, repeated, and intentionally misleading” representations of Alibaba trademarks to promote and sell digital assets. A search of the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System shows that Alibaba holds numerous trademarks in the United States.
Alibaba and Alibabacoin Foundation are not affiliated in any way, but according to Alibaba, the ABBC Foundation has used the retail and technology giant’s trademarks “without alteration, in countless instances” and has “done nothing to combat or correct this confusion.”
The complaint expanded:
“Rather than build independent value in their brand and the products and services they offer, Defendants have engaged in a willful and concerted campaign to cause the public to believe falsely that Alibaba is the source of the Defendants’ products and services, or that such products and services are endorsed or sponsored by, or otherwise associated or affiliated with, Alibaba.”
According to Reuters, Judge Kimba Wood issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Alibabacoin Foundation, and ordered the defendants (including ABBC Foundation’s CEO Jason Daniel Paul Phillip and CTO Hassan Abbas) to explain to the court “why an order should not be issued granting a preliminary injunction,” which would prohibit the defendants’ usage of the Alibaba trademarks anywhere in the United States. The lawsuit additionally seeks punitive and treble damages for ABBC’s possible violations of US and New York law.
The show cause hearing is set for 11:00 a.m. on April 11, 2018.
The ABBC Foundation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Despite Judge Wood’s orders, the ABBC Foundation has not shown signs that it is curbing its activity. On Facebook, a page for the Alibabacoin Foundation posted yesterday, April 3, encouraging readers to visit their official website. The company bills ABBC as “a technology optimized for distribution, finance, shopping, [and] security, using blockchain technology.”