A Chinese company cannot register the word “MI PAD” as a trademark within the European Union because it is too similar to Apple’s trademark iPad, the bloc’s second-highest court ruled on Tuesday.
The iPad tablet is one of Apple’s most successful products.
In this financial quarter alone, the company says it sold more than 10 million tablets around the world.
Chinese company Xiaomi, which specializes in electronics and mobile devices, filed in 2014 an application to register the word sign “MI PAD” as an EU trademark for electronic and communication devices such as tablets and phones.
Apple filed its opposition, invoking its earlier trademark iPad registered for identical or similar goods, and successfully blocked Xiaomi’s application with the EU Intellectual Property Office.
Xiaomi challenged the decision before the General Court of the European Union.
In its judgment, the court dismissed Xiaomi’s legal challenge, saying that visually, phonetically and conceptually, there were too many similarities between “MI PAD” and iPad.
“The relevant public will believe that the goods and services in question come from the same undertaking,” the court held, adding that consumers “will think that the mark applied for MI PAD is a variation on the earlier trademark IPAD.”