Chinese giant Alibaba has had its request to block a cryptocurrency company from using a similar name blocked by a US court.
The company in question is Alibabacoin Foundation, which is based in Dubai. According to its website, it offers improved security through “a secret technique for implementing the blockchain algorithm into the facial recognition hashing process.” It has recently finished an ICO, selling 50 million coins in five days according to Arabian Business.
Alibaba is a Chinese technology corporation and one of the biggest companies in the world, with a market capitalisation in the region of $500 billion. It has made forays into the cryptocurrency world itself, launching a cryptocurrency mining business and developing its own blockchain.
Alibaba claimed that its business in the US was hurt by Alibabacoin, the similar name causing actual confusion amongst customers, according to the New York Times.
Lawyers for Alibabacoin rejected the charges, calling the demand for a name change “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.”
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They are referring to Ali Baba, who is the titular character of the Arabic folk story “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”.
He is one of the more well-recognised characters in “One Thousand and One Nights”, a famous collection of Persian folk tales. In the book, King Shahryar is angered by his wife’s infidelity and executes her, following which he vows to take a new virgin bride every day and kill her the following morning. Sheherezad becomes his wife and avoids this fate by telling the king a story and not finishing it, which forces him to postpone the execution. She tells one thousand and one stories in this way until the king lets her off the hook.
Alibabacoin lawyers added that the fact that ICOs are banned in China means that confusing the two is even less likely.
Judge Paul Oetken dissolved the temporary restraining order that had been 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.
In response to the ruling, an Alibaba Group spokesperson said: “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.”