Early last month, Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the new Dubai cryptocurrency, Alibabacoin. In the suit’s most recent update, a US judge has rejected Alibaba Group’s bid to block Alibabacoin Foundation from using the Alibaba name.
The Alibaba Group accused Alibabacoin’s use of the trademarked name, Alibaba, to potentially hurt its business by causing confusion with customers and investors. The suit also stated that the Alibabacoin Foundation did nothing to dispel confusion over the association with the retailer in attempt to garner speculation during their ICO. The lawsuit seeks compensatory, punitive, and triple damages for the alleged violations of federal and New York law, plus a halt to further infringements.
US District Judge Paul Oetken of Manhattan, New York said Alibaba Group was unable to show that the state had jurisdiction. Any injury the Alibaba Group may have suffered to its business from the alleged trademark infringement was likely to have occurred in China, where the Alibaba Group is based.
The judge also stated that even though Alibabacoin plans to list on US Exchanges or that its websites are hosted by a New York company, those facts are irrelevant to location of jurisdiction. As part of his decision, Judge Oetken has dissolved a temporary restraining order against Alibabacoin issued last month when the lawsuit was originally filed. The judge has also stated Alibaba Group deserves another chance to show why New York does have jurisdiction over the case.
The Alibabacoin Foundation have said they were not trying to piggyback off the Alibaba brand. They have also stated that China’s ban on ICOs last year eliminated a key source of potential confusion among customers and investors. The foundation plans to continue with their scheduled release of their multi-crypto wallet in June, as well as a facial recognition wallet in July.