1 May 2018Trademarks

Alibaba fails to stop cryptocurrency company TM use

Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has failed to secure a preliminary injunction against Dubai-based cryptocurrency firm Alibabacoin Foundation.

Yesterday, April 30, District Judge J Paul Oetken of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York refused to grant the injunction to block Alibabacoin Foundation from using the Alibaba name.

In early April, Alibaba accused the Dubai-based cryptocurrency company of operating an “unlawful scheme to misappropriate” Alibaba’s renowned brand name.

While claiming Alibabacoin Foundation had used the ‘Alibaba’ trademark to raise more than $3.5 million in crypto assets known as “AlibabaCoins” from investors, Alibaba requested a preliminary injunction.

In response, the Dubai-based company claimed that an internet search reveals “a dozen businesses operating in Dubai” using the name Alibaba.

“There is nothing to suggest that those businesses are not acting entirely within the law in using a well-known name from folklore,” said Alibabacoin Foundation.

The court had issued a temporary restraining order and ordered Aliabacoin Foundation to explain why it should not be enjoined from further alleged infringements.

However, yesterday, Oetken said that Alibaba didn’t show it had jurisdiction, because the e-commerce platform had failed to establish a “reasonable probability” that Alibabacoin Foundation’s websites have been “actually used to effect commercial transactions with customers in New York”.

“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,” added Oetken.

The judge also rejected Alibaba’s claim of personal jurisdiction because of the Dubai-based firm’s alleged plans to list its cryptocurrency on exchanges in the US, including in New York.

“In sum, Alibaba has not met its burden to establish a reasonable probability that the court has personal jurisdiction over Alibabacoin,” said the court.

The preliminary injection was denied, but Alibaba was given another chance to show why the case should be heard in New York.

A spokesperson for Alibaba said: “Alibaba is not affiliated with the Alibabacoin Foundation (or any other cryptocurrency companies). The court’s ruling 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 wilful, concerted and unlawful scheme by the Alibabacoin Foundation to exploit Alibaba's trademarks.”

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today’s top stories

Alibaba fails to stop cryptocurrency company TM use

Overseas demand drives TM applications jump in Australia

SCOTUS denies Google’s petition in CBM dispute

Haseltine Lake promotes two to partner

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

9 April 2018   Dubai-based cryptocurrency company Alibabacoin Foundation has denied allegations by Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba that it has operated an “unlawful scheme to misappropriate” Alibaba’s renowned brand name.
8 October 2018   Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has applied to obtain a patent for a blockchain solution that allows for third-party intervention where illegal activities have taken place.
26 October 2018   Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has secured a preliminary injunction against cryptocurrency firm Alibabacoin Foundation.