Alibaba Files Trademark Lawsuit Against Dubai Firm Behind ‘Alibabacoin’
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Monday sued a Dubai-based firm it said has caused confusion by using its trademarked name to raise more than $3.5 million in cryptocurrency known as “Alibabacoins”, Reuters reported.
In the complaint, Alibaba said Alibabacoin Foundation’s “prominent, repeated, and intentionally misleading” use of its trademarks is designed to confuse consumers to think its products are affiliated with or endorsed by the Chinese online retailer Alibaba.
Despite Alibaba having repeatedly said “it is not interested in moving into the cryptocurrency space,” confusion over its role has spread through media, and Alibabacoin has “done nothing to combat or correct this confusion,” the complaint said.
It is not Ali’s first effort to distance itself from the cryptocurrency space. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba previously stated the company would never issue any tokens, but it would like to step up efforts on blockchain application during the country’s biggest political event Two Session this year. The 2017 Global Enterprise’s Blockchain Patent Ranking also demonstrates Ali’s blockchain ambition, where the company wins the champion with 43 pieces of blockchain patents.
Earlier this year when China’s government was planning to wipe out its bitcoin mining industry, Alibaba was rumored to launch a crypto mining platform, the company made a quick clarification saying “Alibaba’s ‘P2P Nodes’ platform has nothing to do with ‘crypto mining’ and ‘virtual currency’”.
Recently rumor has it that Alibaba was attempting an app called Majibao/MJB to tokenize its loyalty system – “Total amount of MJB is 21 billion, of which 8.4 billion will be distributed through POE in the next 84 years until 2101”. The massive user base made the app go viral in a few hours. The CEO Assistant of Ali soon responded that
“the MJB project is a product of task distribution for Taobao customers and it has already been taken offline after test. It has nothing to do with digital currency nor blockchain. We’re tired of being periodically ‘involved’ in crypto-related rumors”.
Relentless rumors about Ali’s issuing tokens reflect people’s concern and anticipation on “Alibaba-issued coin”. While the main reason for Ali rushing into distancing itself from cryptocurrency is that the crypto sector is now still in the gray zone and government crackdown is escalated. As a heavyweight company in the country, it cannot afford any potential risks, especially when the country’s central bank announced a blanket crackdown on all types of cryptocurrencies recently.