Tech giant Apple has lost a legal battle to block Chinese conglomerate Huawei's use of the "MatePod" name as its earbuds device.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the iPhone maker opposed the Shenzhen-based Huawei's use of the "MatePod" brand in the earphone category "on the grounds that it was similar to Apple's own trademarks for the terms Pod, iPod, EarPods and AirPods".
According to the trademark office of the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), Apple argued that Huawei "maliciously copied" its trademarks, "which could have a negative impact on society".
The Chinese authority, however, did not find Apple's argument compelling.
The trademark authority said that there was "insufficient evidence" that proved Huawei's applications to be copies.
As per the report, Huawei has also been granted the MatePod trademark, although, Apple still has the right to file for additional appeals to CNIPA to go back on this decision.
Apple shipped around 72.8 million units of AirPods last year, dominating the market for true wireless headphones with a 31 per cent share, according to Counterpoint Research.
However, the global market for TWS hearables saw tepid QoQ growth in Q2 2021. Apple lost considerable share in both sales volume and value despite big price drops on the AirPods.
According to senior Counterpoint analyst Liz Lee, it is "very possible the AirPods 3 could push overall sales for Apple TWS hearables past 80 million for the year".