Alibaba Group has registered “Double 11″ as a trademark, a move that is bound to send its Chinese e-commerce rivals into a tizzy before the grand November 11 online shopping festival.
With the trademark registration, other online retailers would be violating Alibaba’s rights if they use “Double 11″ in website banners, posts or other promotional materials.
“Double 11″, or Singles’ Day, was initiated by Alibaba’s Tmall in 2009. Regarded as the equivalent of Cyber Monday in the US, it has become the biggest online shopping day every year in China as a host of e-commerce players, including JD.com, joined the promotion war.
Tmall reported record Singles’ Day sales of 35.02 billion yuan (US$5.73 billion) in 2013, up from 50 million yuan in 2009.
Alibaba said in a statement that it has been promoting “Double 11″ since 2009, but some other e-commerce firms had tried to claim the credit for organizing the event during their own marketing promotions.
Rivals also sought to link Alibaba with words like “counterfeit”, according to a photo of the statement posted on Weibo Thursday.
“We condemn such malicious behavior… and will reserve the right to pursue legal action,” Alibaba said.
Tmall’s president Wang Yulei said at a recent media briefing that a record 27,000 retailers will participate in this year’s Double 11 promotion and that, for the first time, more than 200 overseas retailers will also offer discounts to Chinese consumers on the day.
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