On October 22, 2018, a U.S. federal trial court in Manhattan granted web services conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s request for a preliminary injunction against several defendants that were offering cryptocurrency for sale, under the name “AlibabaCoin.” (Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. v. Alibabacoin Foundation, No. 18-CV-2897 (JPO) (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 22, 2018) Although neither Alibaba nor any of the defendants had a base of operations in the United States, Alibaba’s lawsuit was based upon a claim of infringement of its U.S.-registered trademarks.
Alibaba complained that defendants were impermissibly using Alibaba’s trademarks in marketing and promotional materials in order to cause internet users to associate the defendant’s cryptocurrency with Alibaba. Alibaba sought to have the court order the defendants to halt their use of Alibaba’s trademarks in April of 2018. The court at that time ruled that Alibaba had not proven that a US court had personal jurisdiction over the defendants, which are based in Dubai and Belarus, in a case brought by a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands and operating primarily out of the People’s Republic of China.
After the court ordered discovery on the topic of jurisdiction, Alibaba found proof that at least one e-mail address, connected to three transactions of Alibabacoin, apparently belonged to a New York resident. Therefore, Alibaba argued, New York had jurisdiction over the defendants who were doing business in New York. The judge agreed and granted Alibaba’s request for an injunction until trial.
A more detailed analysis of the case by Susan Ross can be accessed here.
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