Xiaomi, the Chinese company which once specialized in brazen iPhone ripoffs, has gained its own identity in the past few years — but that doesn’t mean that it no longer rips off Apple’s intellectual property.
Fortunately, Apple just gained some struck back, persuading an EU court not to grant Xiaomi a trademark for its “Mi Pad” tablet name.
The European Union’s second-highest court, the General Court, ruled that Mi Pad should not be registered as a trademark because people would, unsurprisingly, confuse its name with that of the iPad.
“The dissimilarity between the signs at issue, resulting from the presence of the additional letter ‘m’ at the beginning of ‘Mi Pad,’ is not sufficient to offset the high degree of visual and phonetic similarity between the two signs,” the Court said in a statement.
Xiaomi first filed its application back in 2014, four years after Apple debuted its iPad tablet in 2010. Apple lodged a complaint with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which the group upheld last year. The case was then passed onto the General Court, which agreed with the argument set out by both Apple and EUIPO.
Xiaomi has the opportunity to appeal the decision, but to do so it will have to elevate the case to the EU’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union. Still, with two strikes against it, the odds of Xiaomi coming out on top don’t seem to be particularly high!
At present, Xiaomi is reportedly in talks with investment banks about a possible initial public offering (IPO) for which it is seeking a valuation of around $50 billion.