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African Mobile Phone Brand Mi-Fone Uses Trade Mark to Stop the Sale of Xiaomi's Mi 4 in Nigeria.

In November 2015 Xiaomi, the third largest smartphone brand in the world, announced their plans to sell their flagship smartphones in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The Chinese handsets Redmi 2 and Mi 4 were to be sold through a distribution partnership with Mobile In Africa (MIA) Group.

In Nigeria MIA partnered with Jumia (an online retailer) with the aim of tapping into the Nigerian mobile telecommunication market where only 30 per cent of the 140 million phone subscribers own a smartphone.

The sale of the Xiaomi mobile devices in Nigeria was short-lived as a result of the interim injunction filed by Mi-Fone International DMCC (An African mobile device brand) requesting the court to halt the sale of Xiaomi’s Mi 4 devices, MI-Fone being the holders of the registered trade marks “Mi” in relation to mobile devices in Nigeria and across Africa.

The Nigerian Federal High Court sitting in Lagos having reviewed the evidence presented by Xiaomi and Mi-Fone ruled in favour of Mi-Fone granting an interim injunction restricting the sale of Xiaomi’s Mi 4 mobile devices in Nigeria. This essentially means that any person or business importing, selling, offering for sale Xiaomi Mi 4 devices or accessories in Nigeria would be required from 21st March to remove such products from their shelves and to desist from further promotion of such products.

This is a welcome ruling and evidence that rights holders are able to obtain an injunction a mere few weeks after the matter has been brought to court, a sign that the Nigerian judiciary is in tune with Nigeria’s fight to protect intellectual property rights. It is also clear, from the matter brought before the courts that foreign companies wishing to introduce their brand to the Nigerian market must at least conduct a basic search the Nigeria’s Trademark’s office to check if their mark or similar marks have been registered locally.

Rouse Africa is well positioned to assist you with searches and registration of your trade mark as well as protection of your intellectual property rights in Nigeria.

For more information kindly contact Chidimma Igilige

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