12 March 2019Trademarks

Alibaba settles TM suit with cryptocurrency firm

Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has reached a worldwide settlement with cryptocurrency company ABBC Foundation, bringing a trademark dispute between the pair to an end.

Today, March 12, the companies announced they had settled the  lawsuit brought by Alibaba in April last year, which accused Dubai-based ABBC Foundation (known as Alibabacoin Foundation prior to the settlement) of operating an “unlawful scheme to misappropriate” Alibaba’s renowned brand name.

Filed at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Alibaba alleged that ABBC had used the ‘Alibaba’ trademark to raise more than $3.5 million in crypto assets known as “AlibabaCoins” from investors via crowdfunding.

Alibaba also claimed that ABBC featured some of the e-commerce platform’s trademarks in materials that solicited investment in the US.

“And, lest there be any doubt in consumers’ minds as to whether defendants are associated with Alibaba, those same materials brazenly and explicitly assert that is the case,” said Alibaba in its claim.

District Judge Kimba Wood initially issued a temporary restraining order but, in April last year, District Judge Paul Oetken refused to grant a preliminary injunction against ABBC.

Oetken concluded that Alibaba had failed to establish a “reasonable probability” that Alibabacoin’s websites have been “actually used to effect commercial transactions with customers in New York”.

Alibaba was given a second chance to show why the New York court should hear the case and, in October 2018, the court  granted a preliminary injunction against the Dubai-based company.

Today, Alibaba and ABBC said that they had agreed a settlement, under which ABBC will not use trademarks that include the term ‘Alibaba’ worldwide.

“ABBC regrets any public confusion that may have arisen from its former use of ‘Alibabacoin’,” said the statement.

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More on this story

26 October 2018   Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has secured a preliminary injunction against cryptocurrency firm Alibabacoin Foundation.
3 April 2018   Chinese e-commerce platform Alibaba has accused a Dubai-based cryptocurrency company of operating an “unlawful scheme to misappropriate” Alibaba’s renowned brand name.