UPDATED | May 1, 2018:
On April 30 in Manhattan, US District Judge J. Paul Oetken denied the preliminary injunction that was sought by Alibaba Group against Alibabacoin on the grounds of jurisdiction. As per the order:
"Alibaba [Group] has not alleged that even single sale of Alibabacoin has occurred in New York, much less presented sufficient proof of commercial activity to justify a preliminary injunction. Alibaba's evidence that the majority of visitors to the Alibabacoin website are based in the United States is insufficient, without more, to establish a reasonable probability that at least one New York sale has occurred."
Additionally, even though the website is hosted by a company in New York, the conglomerate failed "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."
As to the requirement that a plaintiff must demonstrate irreparable personal injury, such as monetary damages, Alibaba Group did not show "specific, non-speculative harm in the form of actual or potential injury in a New York market for its services," and any "infringement of Alibaba's trademarks most likely causes Alibaba injury in China, its place of business, in the form of reputational harm and loss of business and goodwill."
As a result, the temporary restraining order against Alibabacoin that was issued on April 2 by Judge Kimba Wood has been dissolved.
ORIGINAL | April 10, 2018:
Last week, ETHNews reported that Chinese e-commerce megacompany Alibaba Group Holding filed a trademark lawsuit against Dubai's Alibabacoin (ABBC) Foundation, which is in the second phase of an ICO, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Shortly thereafter, a temporary restraining order was issued against ABBC, which was also ordered to explain why it should not be prohibited from using the name Alibaba in the United States.
The Arabian startup's legal team has since shared its official response with ETHNews, which states that demands for its client to cease business and start over with a new name is "neither a reasonable or proportionate response" to the "entirely legitimate use of an inherently generic word which emanates not from China, but indeed from the very region" that ABBC operates from.
Many readers will be familiar with the centuries-old Middle Eastern tale, "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves."
The response maintained that the word "Alibaba" isn't owned by any "entity or individual," and that "a quick internet search reveals a dozen businesses operating in Dubai using the name Alibaba."
A notice has also appeared on ABBC's ICO website, clarifying that the two companies are not related and warning that participation in ICOs may be prohibited in some areas.
Additionally, ABBC's response said it is not "infringing any rights of Alibaba Group Holding and it is not issuing any coins neither collecting any monies from such coins in the UAE." It further states that it has not "acted outside the licensed activities" that were authorized by the UAE.
Finally, ABBC denied that its actions had ever indicated the intention to "create an e-commerce site which infringes the Alibaba Group's e-commerce site," or to "trade off the Alibaba Group's intellectual property."
Alibabacoin Foundation will have the opportunity to argue its case at a hearing that is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. tomorrow in Manhattan, New York.