Apple won a legal battle to prevent China-based device maker Xiaomi from registering its MiPad name as an EU trademark, after successfully arguing the name was too similar to its iPad.
The General Court, the EU’s second highest court, released a statement dismissing Xiaomi’s action to register MiPad as an EU trademark after the company first filed an application with the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in 2014.
Like the iPad, Xiaomi’s MiPad is a tablet device.
Apple filed a notice of opposition to the registration in 2016, invoking its earlier trademark “iPad” registered “in respect of identical or similar goods of services”.
The EUIPO upheld Apple’s opposition after ruling “there was a significant degree of similarity between the signs”, which could lead to confusion between the two trademarks: the case was subsequently presented to the General Court.
In its statement, the General Court said it agreed with the EUIPO’s finding: “Visually, the signs at issue display a high degree of similarity owing to the fact that iPad is entirely reproduced in MiPad”.
The court added the EUIPO was correct to conclude there was a likelihood of confusion on the part of the public: “The dissimilarity between the signs at issue, resulting for the presence of the additional letter ‘m’ at the beginning of the MiPad, is not sufficient to offset the high degree of visual and phonetic similarity between the two signs.”
Xiaomi has the option to appeal the ruling at the Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court.