It looks like Xiaomi will not be able to use the ‘Mi Pad’ name for its tablets in the European Union, thanks to the EU’s second-highest court siding with Apple in a recent decision that prevents Xiaomi from registering Mi Pad as a trademark.
This all started back in 2014, when Xiaomi filed an application with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to register Mi Pad as a trademark. Apple subsequently filed a complaint with the EUIPO, and the office agreed that folks could misconstrue Mi Pad as a variation of the existing iPad trademark.
The case was then send to the General Court, the EU’s second-highest court, which, as Reuters reported, ruled that it was not in the public interest for Xiaomi to register Mi Pad as a trademark. According to the court, consumers could confuse the similarity of the signs:
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.
More specifically, the General Court believes that folks will pronounce Mi Pad and iPad the same way, which backs up the EUIPO and its decision to side with Apple:
The court agreed with the EUIPO’s decision and said English-speaking consumers were likely to understand the prefix ‘mi’ as meaning ‘my’ and therefore pronounce the ‘i’ of Mi Pad and iPad in the same way.
Xiaomi can appeal the ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court, though the company did not say what will be its next move. If the decision is left as is, Xiaomi cannot register Mi Pad as a trademark in the EU, which will force the company to rename its tablet if it wants to sell it in the region.
Odds are that Xiaomi will appeal the ruling, though — the company recently started selling its wares in Spain, and you have to think that it will pave the way for more European business. We’ll report back if we hear from Xiaomi regarding its next move.
December 5, 2017 at 08:26AM