Asus has become a popular smartphone brand in India, thanks to the success of value-for-money devices such as Zenfone Max Pro M1 (Review) and the Zenfone Max Pro M2. Now, the company seems to be paying the price of its popularity in India.
In a ruling against Asus, Delhi High Court has blocked the company from using the Zen or Zenfone branding for any of its products in the Indian market. This comes just days before the company is expected to launch its flagship smartphone Zenfone 6 smartphone in India.
The lawsuit filed by Telecare claims that it owns the trademarks for Zen and Zen Mobiles and sells devices under the two brand names. The company noted that it’s been selling devices under the Zen name since 2008, while Asus only started selling smartphones under the Zenfone name in 2014.
Asus then argued that the word Zen is a generic Buddhist term and that there’s no confusion due to the Asus name being coupled with the Zenfone branding. The Delhi High Court agreed that Zen is a common term, but countered that Zen can’t be directly associated with smartphones and tablets.
The court ruled in favor of Telecare and said that Asus’ use of similar branding is damaging. It ordered the Taiwanese company to halt sales of any smartphone, tablet, or accessory with Zenfone branding in India, starting July 23.
In response to this, the company has said that the company’s “legal team is currently working with the Delhi High Court in India to resolve the Zen Mobiles and ZenFone trademark lawsuit. The supply of ASUS smartphones, notebooks, and other products, as well as technical support and after-sales service for all ASUS products, remain unchanged for all consumers.”
It’s interesting that the lawsuit from Telecare comes just days ahead of the Asus’ flagship smartphone launch in India given that Asus has been selling smartphones under the Zenfone brand name since more than four years in India.
Asus has a hearing scheduled for July 10, when the company will have to convince the Delhi High Court that its decision to use the Zenfone name isn’t a trademark violation. If the company fails to do so, it will either have to halt sales of its products in India or use a different branding.
Online marketplace Flipkart has already started teasing the launch of the Zenfone 6 smartphone in the Indian market, hinting that the phone could be Flipkart exclusive. It remains to be seen if the company postpones the launch or goes ahead as per the schedule.