Alibaba Opposes Muhammad Ali Enterprises Trademark Registration

In a 419-page filing submitted to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), Alibaba Group Holding Limited has opposed the registration of the “ALI,” mark by Muhammad Ali Enterprises LLC (MAE). The opposition explains that MAE’s proposed mark will confuse consumers because they will mistakenly identify it with the Chinese e-commerce giant.

Alibaba’s May 22 submission explains that Alibaba Group Holding Limited, a Cayman Islands company, and its affiliates operate Internet-based business transaction platforms worldwide. Its businesses consist of “commerce, cloud computing, digital media and entertainment, and innovation initiatives.” Alibaba also reportedly offers payment and financial services for consumers and merchants on its platforms. 

The company has used its namesake mark and marks with the prefix “ali” in connection with its goods and services since at least 1999, the opposition states. Through marketing and other efforts, Alibaba has reportedly “achieved enviable goodwill and reputation” associated with its marks and brand around the world and in the United States.

According to the TTAB filing, MAE is a California-based company with New York City headquarters. It requested registration of the “ALI” mark in September 2020, and the application was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Mar. 23, 2021 in its official gazette.

The opposition explains that the proposed “ALI” mark overlaps with a host of Alibaba’s marks including “ALICLOUD,” “ALIOS,” and “ALIMAMA,” among many others. Alibaba alleges that the applicant’s mark “would be recognized as Opposer’s previously-used name and identity because it points uniquely and unmistakably to Opposer.”

The filing states four claims for relief including likelihood of confusion, dilution by blurring, dilution by tarnishment, and false suggestion of a connection with Alibaba. In turn, the company requests that the TTAB refuse MAE’s application.

Alibaba is represented by Adams Reese LLP.