Xiaomi and Mi-Fone are fighting for ‘Mi’


Xiaomi may be the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, but its flagship devices will no longer be available for sale in Nigeria.

Following an injunction by Mauritius-based mobile device company Mi-Fone, Xiaomi’s Mi phones will no longer be available for sale in Nigeria, at least for now.

The cause for the injunction, according to the document, is because Xiaomi’s Mi series of devices could be confused for Mi-Fone’s devices, as their names are quite similar. This means that Xiaomi’s recently launched Mi 5, the Mi Note and the Redmi will not be available for sale for the time being.

The order is directed to ‘all persons and entities dealing in mobile phone and accessories labeled with the trademark/name Mi within Nigeria’.

Among those named as defendants in the suit from the Federal High Court are Xiaomi, their distribution partner Mobile In Africa Limited, MIA group and Jumia, who are authorized resellers.

The Mi 4 and Redmi phones are still featured on Jumia Nigeria’s website, but upon attempting to buy one, a notification appears stating that the devices are out of stock.
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This is not the first time that an injunction was raised against Xiaomi. In 2014, Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson forced Xiaomi to stop advertising and selling devices, alleging that the Chinese phone maker infringed on its patents.

Mi-Fone previously sued Xiaomi in Kenya, stating that the Chinese company’s ‘Mi’ products infringed on its ‘mi’ and ‘mi-Fone’ trade names. The case is yet to be resolved, and Xiaomi’s devices are still available for purchase.

As smartphone brands seek to establish themselves with African consumers, local players and international labels are increasingly taking each other on. While there is some overlap, the most likely outcome here is a truce, where the each side identifies a market segment and focuses on it.

Photo Credit: Thunder Stock via Compfight cc

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