Alibaba Finally Persuades Name-Squatting Crypto to Stop Mooching its $467 Billion Brand
Originally published on: CCN
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March 12, 2019
The genie is now out of the bottle, and one of the crypto industry’s most bizarre trademark disputes is now over. The ABBC Foundation, which is behind the Alibabacoin cryptocurrency, has conceded the coveted Alibaba brand name to the China-based e-commerce giant of the same name. After many months of battling it out in a New York Southern District Court, the two companies have reached a “worldwide settlement for the Alibabacoin trademark.”
ABBC Cryptocurrency Drops ‘Alibaba’ Name after Legal Dispute
At the heart of the complaint, Jack Ma’s tech company cried foul over the crypto startup using the Alibaba name, which it argued would lead to confusion, particularly among U.S. investors. ABBC Foundation, meanwhile, argued that China’s e-commerce leader wasn’t taking full advantage of the magic behind the Alibaba name, anyway, which for the Alibabacoin team was allegedly inspired by the fictional character Ali Baba from “Arabian Nights.”
Now, the Dubai- and Belarus-domiciled ABBC Foundation has issued the following statement, which was obtained by CCN:
“Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. (Alibaba) and ABBC Blockchain IT Solutions LLC (ABBC) today announced that they had reached a worldwide settlement of claims involving use of the name ALIBABACOIN, with ABBC agreeing not to use trademarks that include the term ALIBABA worldwide. ABBC regrets any public confusion that may have arisen from its former use of ALIBABACOIN.”
Details of the settlement were not disclosed.
What’s in a Name? ‘Alibaba’ Brand Creates Crypto Confusion
The battle for the Alibaba name played out more like a ping-pong match in the courts since the trademark-fueled complaint was filed in April 2018. Chief among Alibaba’s complaints against the crypto startup Alibabacoin was the confusion that sharing a name would create for U.S. customers. Alibaba, which boasts a market cap of $467 billion, also asserted that its brand was damaged — particularly in the U.S. — and that the crypto startup unfairly benefited after Alibabacoin raked in more than $3.5 million in an ICO.
Last year, a judge determined that any damage to the ICO-infused Alibabacoin brand would occur in China, where Alibaba Group is based, and not in New York. ABBC Foundation maintained that due to China’s blanket ban on ICOs in the country, there was no room for misinterpretation there, either. Since then there has been a series of overturnings of rulings and court orders in which the crypto startup has held its own against its much larger rival.
All is well that ends well, except for the fact that the ABBC Coin (ABBC), formerly known as Alibabacoin, has shed 6% in the last 24 hours after posting major gains over the past month. Alibaba Group Holdings (BABA), on the other hand, is trading in the green on the NYSE.
Meanwhile, the ABBC Foundation must be in the process of updating its marketing content as the website was inaccessible as of press time.