Startup MGZN

Why is Alibaba filing a lawsuit against Dubai-based developers?

This Week, Alibaba, a Chinese-based multinational company, just filed a lawsuit against a cryptocurrency under development called Alibabcoin in Dubai. According to Alibaba, the developers intentionally used the Chinese e-commerce giant’s trademarked name to raise more than $3.5 million in an initial coin offering (ICO).

The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court in New York, whereby Alibaba Group stated the legal action occurred from an unlawful scheme that planned on misappropriating the company’s “renowned brand name in order to deceive investors in the U.S. and around the world with a single-minded focus to capitalize on [the] Plaintiff’s reputation for success.”

The lawsuit also lists a number of defendants that are associated with the cryptocurrency. These include the Alibabacoin Foundation (or ABBC Foundation), ABBC Block Chain IT Solutions LLC, Alibabacoin General Trading FZE and Alibabacoin Foundation LLC, Jason Daniel Paul Philip, and Hasan Abbas.

According to the Alibabacoin Foundation website, Jason Daniel Paul Philip is the Founder and CEO while Hasan Abbas is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. The website also mentions that the organization has offices located in Dubai, Minks, and Belarus. There are other firms associated with the cryptocurrency in the lawsuit such as ABBC Blockchain IT Solutions, which was also listed as having Dubai addresses.

In an argument, the lawsuit mentioned that the Alibabacoin’s developers intentionally tried to mislead the public into believing that the cryptocurrency is linked to Alibaba Group, even though Alibaba has numerously stated that they’re not interested in exploring cryptocurrencies yet. “[The] defendants prominently feature trademarks owned by Alibaba Group Holding, in whole and without alteration, in countless instances in materials they make publicly available on the internet, including in offering materials that solicit investment from investors in the U.S. and elsewhere,” reads the filing of the suit.

Alibabacoin’s ICO is currently conducted in stages, where the first stage was held between March 1 and March 15 this year. The second stage was supposed to kick off on March 16, with the cryptocurrency set listed on the exchanges later on this year.

In addition, the developers have scheduled to release their multi-crypto wallet in June 2018 and are planning on implementing facial recognition on the wallet in July 2018. They’re planning on starting the ABBC blockchain miner sales in August and consequently upgrade their facial recognition data blockchain-formation in September.

As of yet, Alibabacoin Foundation did not respond to Forbes Middle East’s request for comment. They’ve also listed Hamdan AlShamsi Lawyers & Legal Consultants as its legal representatives on their website.

Alibaba Group surely does have a strong case against the Alibabacoin Foundation and will have to prove malice and intention of appropriating the name, but we remain unsure of where it’s heading.

Do you think that Alibaba Group is going to win the case?

Bayan Al-A'abed

Bayan is a writer for Startup MGZN