A US court has ruled this week against the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s request for an injunction against the Dubai-based Alibabacoin Foundation (ABBC Foundation) due to their similar names, Forbes Middle East reported yesterday, May 1.
In the beginning of April, Alibaba sued the ABBC Foundation for copyright infringement, alleging that Alibabacoin engaged in “prominent, repeated, and intentionally misleading” behavior using the company’s name. The initial lawsuit was accompanied by a temporary restraining order against Alibabacoin that was negated by Judge J. Paul Oetken’s ruling, but Alibaba can keep pursuing its lawsuit in spite of the judge’s injunction denial, according to Forbes Middle East.
The ABBC Foundation, which raised more than $3.5 mln in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), says on its website that they are “building the fund security system that is fundamentally improved by using new technology using a secret technique for implementing the blockchain algorithm into the facial recognition hashing process.”
A Google snippet for the ABBC Foundation offers this explanation:
Alibabacoin Foundation is best Cryptocurrency company with success predicted & amazing whitepaper. This digital currency has secure Facial Recognition.”
The Foundation has maintained the right to their name, citing the Middle Eastern character “Ali Baba” from One Thousand and One Nights as their inspiration rather than the Chinese commerce company. According to an email from the ABBC Foundation sent last month to Forbes Middle East, the word Alibaba is “free of use in its legitimate business activities”:
[The lawsuit] is either a reasonable or proportionate response to our client’s entirely legitimate use of an inherently generic word which emanates not from China, but indeed from the very region in respect of which your client would seek to prohibit its use.”
A spokesperson for Alibaba told Forbes Middle East in an emailed statement that “Alibaba Group is not affiliated with the ABBC Foundation”:
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.”
Rumors that Alibaba was delving into the crypto sector were denied in January of this year when the company release a statement that their new P2P platform was not cryptocurrency, blockchain, or crypto mining related:
We reiterate that Alibaba Cloud has never issued a Bitcoin-like virtual currency, and it will not host any [cryptocurrency] mining platforms.”