Defendants in this case created a cryptocurrency called Alibabacoin and used the Alibaba name on its websites, Facebook page, and phone applications.  Online retailer Alibaba sued for infringement of its federally registered “Alibaba” mark.  Despite finding it that there was subject matter jurisdiction under the Lanham Act (the US federal trademark statute), the court denied Alibaba’s motion for a preliminary injunction without prejudice to renewal upon a showing of personal jurisdiction.  The court held that Alibaba failed to base jurisdiction, for purposes of New York’s long-arm statute, on Alibabacoin’s interactive websites because it did not establish a reasonable probability that those sites were actually used to effect commercial transactions with customers in New York. That Alibabacoin’s sites were hosted in New York was insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction. Nor did Alibabacoin’s alleged plans to list its cryptocurrency on exchanges in the United States, including in New York, provide a basis for personal jurisdiction.


David Zaslowsky has a degree in computer science and, before going to Yale Law School, was a computer programmer. His practice focuses on international litigation and arbitration. He has been involved in cases in trial and appellate courts across the United States and before arbitral institutions around the world. Many of David’s cases, including some patent cases, have related to technology. David has been included in Chambers for his expertise in international arbitration. He is the editor of the firm's blockchain blog.