NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Dubai-based cryptocurrency firm Alibabacoin Foundation on Tuesday said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd cannot monopolize the “magical” Alibaba name, and asked a U.S. judge to dismiss the Chinese e-commerce retailer’s trademark lawsuit.
In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Alibabacoin rejected the claim that consumers would be confused into thinking Alibaba supported its alleged effort to raise money in the cryptocurrency market.
Alibabacoin, which is also known as ABBC Foundation, said it has not been trying to piggyback off the Alibaba name, and that China’s ban on initial coin offerings in September eliminated a key source of potential confusion.
“The legend of Alibaba conjures up thoughts of magic, gold coins, and ‘Open Sesame,’” Alibabacoin said. “The ABBC entities are well within their rights to use a word connoting magic and golden coins in an area (Alibaba) has not used or, at the very least, has abandoned.”
A U.S.-based lawyer for Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alibabacoin asked U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken to throw out a temporary restraining order issued by another judge last week, and not to issue an injunction against its use of the name.
It also argued that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case because Alibabacoin lacked sufficient ties to New York.
Alibaba’s lawsuit sought a halt to further alleged infringements, plus compensatory, punitive and triple damages for alleged violations of federal and New York state law.
The case is Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd v. Alibabacoin Foundation et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-02897.
Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis