Apple has successfully prevented Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi from registering the name “Mi Pad” as a trademark in the European Union, according to a new report.
The General Court, the EU’s second-highest, ruled that Xiaomi could not trademark Mi Pad as the name for its lineup of tablets on account of it being too similar to Apple’s existing iPad device. The Court added that consumers were likely to be confused by the similarity between the two names, adding that the addition of the “letter ‘m’ at the beginning of ‘Mi Pad’” wasn’t a sufficient enough difference, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Xiaomi first filed the trademark application in 2014, a full four years after Apple first released the original iPad in 2010. Apple subsequently lodged a complaint with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) on the grounds that consumers would think Mi Pad was a variation of Apple’s own tablet. The EUIPO upheld Apple’s complaint in 2016.
The court agreed with the EUIPO decision, adding that English-speaking buyers were likely to read “Mi Pad” as “my pad” instead of the correct pronunciation of “me pad” — therefore pronouncing the “i” the same way as iPad.
Xiaomi is one of the largest smartphone makers in the world and has consistently stayed in the top 5 in its home region of Asia (typically behind Samsung, Huawei and Oppo). Currently, the company is in talks with investment banks about going public, with a proposed initial public offering (IPO) valuation of $50 billion, according to the Business Times.
The Chinese OEM also has long had a reputation for blatantly ripping off Apple’s devices, designs and aesthetics, from its flagship iPhone to its MacBook Air. Xiaomi even stole Apple’s famous “one more thing” for a keynote event in 2014.
No they didnt? Yes, they did! The iconic "one more thing" slide. Priceless – Xiaomi Mi4 pic.twitter.com/bD9UamXVBl
— Sascha Pallenberg (@sascha_p) July 22, 2014
From here, Xiaomi can appeal the General Court’s ruling at the highest court in the EU: the Court of Justice of the European Union. Whether it will remains to be seen — particularly with two legal decisions already levied against its case.