Japanese Firm BWB Inc Sues Alibaba Over Patents in US and Korea

Japanese Firm BWB Inc Sues Alibaba Over Patents in US and Korea
Credit: New York Times

Japanese Firm BWB Inc. Takes on Alibaba Group in Global Patent Dispute Over Cross-Border E-Commerce

A relatively unknown Japanese company, BWB Inc., has initiated legal action against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in three different countries, accusing the Chinese e-commerce giant of infringing on its patents related to cross-border e-commerce. BWB, a Tokyo-based firm specializing in patent rights, filed for an injunction against Alibaba’s overseas transactions at the Seoul Central District Court recently. This legal move follows previous filings by BWB in April at the Tokyo District Court and in November at the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

The crux of BWB’s complaint revolves around its proprietary system, which revolves around customs-clearance and logistics patents. This system enables merchants to pre-register goods at customs with a predetermined tax rate and assists customers in paying duties at the time of purchase, ensuring a smoother delivery process. In the lawsuit filed in Japan, BWB is seeking an injunction against Alibaba, as well as its logistics unit Cainiao, and Taobao China Holding Ltd., the operator of Tmall, as detailed in a copy of the lawsuit reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Alibaba has refrained from commenting on the ongoing litigation, maintaining a stance of not infringing on BWB’s patents. In response to previous claims, the company had requested the Tokyo court to dismiss the allegations. BWB’s spokesperson, Kota Morimoto, confirmed the legal actions taken in three countries but chose not to elaborate further on the matter.

This legal dispute adds to the challenges faced by Alibaba, which is already navigating a slower-than-expected economic recovery in China and facing competition from agile rivals like PDD Holdings Inc., the company behind the popular shopping app Temu. Despite these challenges, Alibaba’s international division, including platforms like AliExpress and Lazada, continues to be a rapidly growing segment for the company. Cross-border fulfillment, a key aspect for Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics unit, has experienced a significant 25% growth in the recent quarter compared to the previous year.

The upcoming trial in the Northern District of California is scheduled to commence on February 13, shedding light on the intricacies of the legal battle between BWB and Alibaba.

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Source(s): Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance

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