When it comes to courtroom jiujitsu, no tech company is more infamous and feared than Apple. Apple is known for fiercely protecting its patents and intellectual properties, and has been known to use legal action to cripple their rivals and maintain their edge in the market. The latest opponent to fall before Apple's considerable legal might is Xiaomi, in a trademark battle over the use of the name "Mi Pad" in Europe.
Back in 2014, Xiaomi filed a trademark application for the "Mi Pad" name with the Intellectual Property Office of the European Union (EUIPO). Xiaomi first released the Mi Pad in 2014, and there was no doubt from its looks that it borrowed heavily from the design language of Apple's iconic iPad. Further, the Mi Pad name sounded a little too close to iPad when pronounced. Apple would naturally have none of that and moved to block Xiaomi's application and prevent them from using the Mi Pad name in the EU.
The EUIPO ruled in 2016 that the Mi Pad was too close both in looks and pronunciation to the iPad, and prevented Xiaomi from registering the trademark. Xiaomi appealed the decision to the General Court, but once again was denied as the court ruled in Apple's favor once again, dismissing Xiaomi's appeal earlier this week on Tuesday.
The General Court of the European Union issued the press release in favor of Apple on December 5 in Luxembourg, affirming the earlier decision to block Xiaomi's use of the Mi Pad trademark.
"Visually, the signs at issue display a high degree of similarity owing to the fact that IPAD is entirely reproduced in MI PAD, that the two signs coincide as to the letter sequence 'ipad' and that they differ only as to the presence of the additional letter 'm' at the beginning of MI PAD."
Apparently, people in Europe are unable to differentiate between an iPad and a Mi Pad.
Apple has won yet another legal battle, but Xiaomi can still appeal to Europe's highest court: the Court of Justice of the European Union. This saga will no doubt continue as high as it will go.
- Images from mi.com