The Federal High Court in Lagos has issued an interim Injunction against Xiaomi Inc. of China with their version of “Mi” branded Mobile devices currently on offer in Nigeria via various retailers.
The case against Xiaomi and their Distributors Mobile in Africa was brought upon by Mi-Fone International DMCC the holders of the Mi registered Trademarks in Nigeria and across Africa and owners of Mi-Fone. “Mi-Fone was established in 2008 and from day one we followed the rule of law and promptly registered the Mi trademarks in the relevant classes,” says Alpesh Patel, Founder of Mi-Fone.
“We are the first African Mobile Devices brand and we have been selling our Mi branded devices since 2008 across many African countries. One should always do proper research before entering new markets,“ he further comments.
Lawyers for Mi-Fone, Oluwaseye Lawal of L & A – Legal Consultants, a firm of Intellectual Property Consultants also comment, “By virtue of the injunction granted by the Court, anyone selling Xiaomi Mi branded Devices or accessories or any one else selling similar sounding products within the Telecoms sector has to promptly remove such products from their shelves and to desist in further promotion of such products”. He adds further, ”even at this early stage, this injunction is a victory for the rule of law and doing the right things at all times. It is a clear signal from our courts that it is no longer business as usual in Nigeria and the Nigerian courts will always protect intellectual property rights.“
“We certainly don’t mind any competition but we cannot also afford to have confusion amongst consumers with two separate brands bearing the same Mi product brand name,“ says Patel. He goes on to say “we have recently launched our Mi Tribe series of products with Konga Online and Nigeria has and will always be a key market for us. We may not be the biggest but we sure are committed to delivering “Aspiration within reach” to the people of Nigeria and the rest of Africa.”
Patel further adds, “We are a proud African brand and we will do what needs to be done to protect our African heritage. This interim injunction should give hope to many African brands out there who have taken the required steps to protect their intellectual property.”