Alibaba Group

Alibaba writ claims four Hong Kong companies stole its names

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 February, 2013, 5:36am

Alibaba, the mainland's largest e-commerce firm, is suing four Hong Kong companies for trademark infringement.

The group is suing Alipay Limited, a company that shares the same name as the online payment tool that customers of Alibaba use.

Alibaba, which runs the popular online shipping site Taobao, is suing Officeplus Company for using the Chinese characters for Taobao in its company name.

The group is also suing Rating Industrial and Tian Mao International, whose Chinese names contain words identical to the Chinese name of Tmall - a business-to-customer online retail run by Alibaba.

Alibaba's writ is asking the High Court to impose an injunction on the defendants, restraining them from carrying out any business or service using the trademarks.

Alibaba wants the companies to change their names and provide an account of profits they made by using the disputed trademarks and pay damages.

Company filings show that Alipay Limited was set up in September last year; Rating Industrial and Tian Mao International were incorporated in August, and Officeplus Company was established in May 2011.

Records show that Taobao .com and had 1 trillion yuan (HK$1.23 trillion) worth of gross merchandise volume in the first 11 months of last year.

The number of registered Taobao users in Hong Kong passed one million in June last year, and in September it said the number had reached 1.2 million.

Last month, Alibaba announced that its founder, Jack Ma, would step down as the chief executive in May but remain chairman.