Fighting Over ‘MI’: Xiaomi and Mi-Fone in a Legal Battle

Mi-Fone, an African focused smart phone manufacturer has sued Xiaomi, a Chinese based mobile and electronic company.There seems to be a fierce legal battle brewing amongst the two mobile companies.

In a lawsuit filed in Mauritius where Mi-Fone was registered, the plaintiff claimed that ‘Mi’ and Mi-Fone is a trademark of their company duly registered in Africa. An official press release by the company stated “the objection rests on the basis that the introduction of Xiaomi’s ‘Mi’ products on the continent is a trademark infringement in a market where Mi-Fone has a well-established presence via their ‘mi’ and ‘Mi-Fone’ trade names.”

To restate the company’s position, Alpesh Patel, founder and CEO of Mi-Fone, said , “It is great that companies want to come into Africa and realise the potential of African smartphone growth, but it is our duty as a relatively small indigenous 100 per cent African owned company to stand up for our rights as the first original registered owners of the ‘mi’ and ‘mi-Fone’ names in Africa. I would have hoped that big companies like this would have done their due diligence before announcing their proposed entry into Africa.”

If the two parties do not resolve this disagreement soon, the proposed launch of Xiaomi’s Red Mi, Mi 5 and Mi Note devices will be thrown into perpetual delay. Xiaomi’s agreements with eCommerce companies are perhaps null and void. The company has been sued in time past by Swedish telecom giant, Ericsson on copyrights infringements.

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