Alibaba Group Holding Limited, the Chinese retail and internet conglomerate, sued a Dubai-based cryptocurrency firm for trademark violation as the latter raised over $3.5 million through the initial coin offering of a token called “AlibabaCoins” or “ABBC Coins”.
In the lawsuit filed in the New York Southern District Court, the company alleged that “…Defendants have engaged in a willful and concerted campaign to cause the public to believe falsely that Alibaba is the source of Defendants’ products and services, or that such products and services are endorsed or sponsored by, or otherwise associated or affiliated with, Alibaba.”
The company also said that defendants, the firm called Alibabacoin Foundation, prominently featured Alibaba Group trademarks in the promotional material for their ICO and mentioned “brazenly and explicitly” that it was associated with the Chinese retailer.
Alibaba Group claimed that this has already created “actual confusion” among the investors of the ICO in the US and elsewhere. Even some news outlets also started speculation on a link between the ICO and the Chinese company.
The company said defendants, also known as ABBC Foundation, must be prevented from continuing their intentionally misleading use of its trademarks, else they “will continue to capitalize unfairly on the goodwill inherent in those marks, deceiving the public and impairing and diluting the value of those marks.”
Judge Kimba Wood issued a temporary restraining order asking defendants Alibabacoin Foundation and its subsidiaries, and the company founder and CEO Jason Daniel Paul Philip and co-founder and CTO Hasan Abbas to explain on April 11 as to why they should not be prevented from further use of Alibaba trademarks.
The Chinese retailer previously made it clear that it is not interested in entering the cryptocurrency space.
by Jyotsna V