At the beginning of April, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Limited filed a complaint with the US District Court of Southern District New York, accusing Alibabacoin Foundation of misappropriating Alibaba’s trademark and brand name to mislead investors of Alibabacoin in the US and around the world. The suit claims that Alibabacoin Foundation raised $3.5 million from investors in an initial coin offering, which Alibaba alleges “are neither registered nor approved by US Regulators.”
This week, though, US District Judge H. Paul Oetken ruled against Alibaba Group and denied their request for an injunction to block the Dubai-based cryptocurrency firm from using the Alibaba name.
According to the court ruling, Alibaba failed to provide sufficient evidence that the court district had jurisdiction over the Alibaba Foundation. Alibaba claims that though the Alibabacoin Foundation is based in Dubai, their website is accessible in the state of New York. However, the court states that this is not enough to prove personal jurisdiction according to law.
The judge’s ruling states that "Alibaba fails to cite a single case in which a court has concluded that an agreement with a third-party web-hosting company in New York bears an articulable nexus to a trademark infringement claim involving a website.”
Judge Oetken further points out that any damage to the Alibaba brand’s reputation or business operations would occur in China, not New York, and that Alibaba has not shown any US individuals work on the foundation’s website, further disproving that New York has any jurisdiction over the matter.
Oetken’s ruling also stated:
"Alibaba has failed to identify a specific economic injury in New York ... nor has it alleged the existence of a New York market in which it lost actual or potential customers to Alibabacoin. To the contrary, Alibaba expressly disclaims any intention to enter the cryptocurrency market, in New York or anywhere else.”
According to Alibaba, the company still plans to pursue the case and file a new motion, with a spokesperson for Alibaba telling Forbes Middle East:
“The court’s ruling on April 30 was with respect to jurisdiction. We will be submitting a new motion and are confident we will be able to put an end to this willful, concerted and unlawful scheme by the ABBC Foundation to exploit Alibaba Group trademarks.”
Meanwhile, the Alibabacoin Foundation has offered this statement via their official Twitter account:
“We firmly believe that Alibabacoin Foundation never acted illegally. Fair and square speaking, we strongly believe and trust the judge decision above all else. As always, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the support and continue patronizing Alibabacoin Foundation.”
Alibabacoin has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, citing that the cryptocurrency is named after the “magical” Alibaba name associated with golden coins and “open sesame,” and that Alibaba Group should not be able to monopolize a name based on the legend of Alibaba.
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