Huawei wins the ‘MatePod’ trademark against Apple

Huawei wins the 'MatePod' trademark against Apple, Failure to convince the CNIPA, MatePod, 'MatePod' trademark

Huawei wins the ‘MatePod’ trademark against Apple

After a long, constant battle between Huawei and Apple regarding the ‘MatePod’ trademark, the fight has finally been over with Huawei coming up on top. 

The origin of the conflict between the 2 giant tech companies dates back a long time ago, probably because they are 2 ‘giant tech companies’ in the world and conflicts are inevitable. 

However, if taking just the battle for ‘MatePod’ trademark, the disagreement booms for the word ‘Pod’ cause while Huawei is not known for this word before MatePod but Apple has long been famous for its line of products namely iPod, EarPods, and AirPods.

Accordingly, Apple has stood out and opposed the registration of the trademark ‘MatePod’, arguing that this product will cause confusion to the consumers about the origin of the product which is “identical to Apple’s own trademarks for the phrases Pod, iPod, EarPods, and AirPods.”

Furthermore, Apple has claimed that Huawei “maliciously duplicated” their trademarks, “which might have a harmful impact on society.”

Failure to convince the CNIPA

Nonetheless, Apple’s arguments didn’t seem sufficient to the CNIPA. The latter ruled in favor of Huawei and eventually, Huawei was also granted the MatePod trademark.

CNIPA’s official response was that there was “insufficient evidence” that proved Huawei’s applications to be copies.

The ruling from CNIPA did acknowledge the similarities between both firms in aspects like “functionalities, sales channels, and target consumers.” However, “the spelling of the tradem,arks are different, and the differentiation in pronunciation and the overall appearance are distinct. Therefore, the trademarks of the two companies are not similar trademarks on similar products and the coexistence would not cause confusion among the consumers.”

Regardless, this might not be the end of the matter because Apple still has the right to file for additional appeals to CNIPA to go back on this decision.

At the moment, Huawei declined to comment on the matter and Apple hasn’t yet given out any comments, whether about their loss or if they have further intentions to follow the legal battle for the trademark ‘MatePod’ in the future.

Expert opinions

Yang Mingming, a partner at Wanhuida Intellectual Property in China stated about the conflict between the 2 companies regarding the mark MatePod: “The China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) made the decisions on the opposition in March and April 2021, which denied Apple’s oppositions and approved the registrations of Huawei’s marks. According to the decisions published on the CNIPA’s website, Apple claimed in the oppositions that “MatePod” and “HUAWEI Mate Pod” are similar to Apple’s “POD” formative marks, including “POD”, “iPOD”, “AirPods” and “EarPods”. But, the Examiner took the view that Huawei’s marks could be distinguished from Apple’s marks due to the different component characters, sound and appearance, and the co-existence of both parties’ marks would not bring confusion and misidentification to consumers. Apple also claimed Huawei’s bad faith in registering the mark but was not supported by the Examiner. For time being, Apple has not filed invalidation against Huawei’s marks yet.”

Mingming further adds: “Because of the success of Apple’s iPod, EarPods and AirPods products, “Pod” has become a popular term to name smart device and accessories. A search at the CNIPA’s database could reveal many trademarks incorporating the term “Pod”, in particular in Class 9. It could be seen from the official records that Apple raised many oppositions and successfully opposed the marks such as “Podtime”, “PodsGO”, “xpod”, “KPOD”, “EchoPods”, “geekpods”, “Powerpods”, “TransPods”, “bluepods”, “BlackPods”, etc. But meanwhile, just like Huawei, some other market players defended Apple’s oppositions, like “vivo Pods”, “vivo Freepods”, “KOOLPOD”, “PoPods Pro”, etc., which were found dissimilar to Apple’s marks.”

***Other Articles***

– You could see How To Register Trademark in China here.

– You could visit here to see Procedure of Trademark in China.

– You could visit here to check Required documents of filing trademark in China.

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