Dubai-based ABBC Foundation, who see their blockchain technology becoming the world’s leading software platform for digital assets, announced they will stop using trademarks that include the term “Alibaba”. Formerly known as Alibaba Foundation, the name change is part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, the Chinese e-commerce retailer.
In the original lawsuit in 2018, Alibaba said that ABBC were attempting to mislead customers and damage Alibaba’s reputation in the United States by using their name and raising over $3.5 million in Alibabacoins. The “apparent, repeated and internationally misleading” use of the Alibabacoin Foundation brand was designed to confuse consumers into believing that its products are affiliated with or endorsed by the Chinese online retailer. They said Alibabacoin was using its “single-minded focus to capitalise on the plaintiff’s reputation for success” by using its trademarks “without alteration, in countless instances” to sell crypto-assets.
ABBC countered that it was not trying to benefit from the Alibaba name, and that China’s September 2017 ban on initial coin offerings meant that confusing the two companies was highly unlikely. Lawyers for ABBC said that the demand for a name change was “neither 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”.
Manhattan Judge, Paul Oetken dissolved the temporary restraining order placed on Alibabacoin, saying that Alibaba had not proved that Alibabacoin was trying to conduct business in the US. He said that any loss of business for Alibaba likely originated in its country of origin.
Late last year, rumours spread that there would be an acquisition by Alibaba, however discussions were only about a settlement. Jason Daniel Philip, ABBC CEO said: “Some people and media have misunderstood it as a possible acquisition by Alibaba Group, however, there is no such discussion about it, as of now”.ABBC said it regretted any public confusion arising from its “former use of Alibabacoin. Its cryptocurrency is now called ABBC Coin.