China’s Xiaomi, best-known for its low-cost smartphones and wearables, is also a major electric scooter maker that several shared electric scooter services in the US rely on, with the company’s scooters rebranded and made available across America’s sidewalks.
However, there has been a hiccup recently in the relationship, as Xiaomi has sent a cease-and-desist letter to ride-rental firm Lyft, saying it hasn’t consented to associate its brand with the US entity, TechCrunch reports.
Xiaomi alleges Lyft has referenced Xiaomi’s brand in its advertisements and other documentation in relation to the US firm’s shared electric scooter business.
In the letter, which TechCrunch says it has obtained, Xiaomi also wrote that it does not “condone Lyft’s unauthorized modification or retrofitting of our electric scooters for general public use.”
The Chinese firm demanded that Lyft to stop deploying Xioami-made scooters “that have been modified without our consent in public scooter rentals.”
The letter warned that if Lyft does not comply with the request, Xiaomi could pursue legal action.
Lyft, meanwhile, told TechCrunch it has no knowledge of using any supplier’s trademarks in advertising, but said the ride-rental firm has made safety modifications, including slowing scooter speeds, to comply with local regulatory guidelines.
Lyft currently operates its shared electric scooter service in several locations in the US, including Santa Monica, California, and Washington DC.
Contributing to the growth of scooter-share service in the US, Xiaomi’s electric scooters, produced in China, are rebranded and deployed under sharing programs of US-based startups including Spin, Bird and Uber, among others.
Xiaomi, together with Beijing-based transportation robotics firm Ninebot, the parent company of Segway, are the current champions in the scooter manufacturing market.
Xiaomi has a stake in Segway, with its financial backing to Ninebot in the acquisition of Segway in 2015 representing one of Xiaomi’s investments in hardware, gadgets and Internet of Things (IoT).
The Chinese smart device manufacturer, founded by Lei Jun in 2010, has provided funding to companies such as Misfit, Pebbles Interfaces, and iHealth Labs, which in return contribute to Xiaomi’s hardware and internet service ecosystem surrounding its smartphones.
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