On Monday, Apple successfully stopped Xiaomi from registering its tablet computer “Mi Pad” as an EU trademarks. The Cupertino-based firm won the case on the grounds that the Chinese smartphone manufacturer’s tab has a name that closely resembles its tablet computer, “iPad”.
The General Court, The European Union’s second-highest court, ruled in favor of Apple. It outlined that Mi Pad should not be registered as an EU trademark, because the similarity in signs could confuse customers.
“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,” said the Court in a statement.
The Chinese smartphone and electronic products manufacturer filed an application for registering Mi Pad as an EU Trademark at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Later, the U.S. tech giant approached the General Court against the application. The EUIPO gave its verdict in favor of Apple as consumers would think that Mi Pad was another version of Apple’s iPad trademark.
The General Court was in consensus with the EUIPO’s decision. It said English-speaking consumers might interpret the prefix “mi” as “my”. As a result, they might pronounce the “i” of Mi Pad and iPad similarly.
Xiaomi has the option of challenging General Court’s ruling at the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court.