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ASUS rebranded the Zenfone 6 to 6z in India (Update)
Update, June 10, 2019 (1 pm ET): Android Police spotted that the Flipkart listing for the ZenFone 6 has already rebranded the ASUS Zenfone to the ASUS 6z. The Zenfone branding has not dropped by other retailers around the world, so this will likely be an India-only rebrand.
Original article, June 5, 2019 (9 pm ET): The Zenfone name, used by ASUS for its series of smartphones, is in danger of going away in India due to a lawsuit from Telecare Network India.
According to the lawsuit (via Bar & Bench), Telecare owns the trademarks for Zen and Zen Mobiles and sells devices under the two brand names. Telecare also noted in the lawsuit it’s been selling devices under the Zen name since 2008, while ASUS only started selling smartphones under the Zenfone name in 2014.
ASUS 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.
It also said ASUS applied for the Zenfone trademark, which means the company can’t argue that Zen is a common term.
The court concluded by siding with Telecare and ruling ASUS’ use of similar branding is damaging. It ordered ASUS to halt sales of any smartphone, tablet, or accessory with Zenfone branding in India starting July 23.
The ruling could also affect ASUS’ ZenBook line of laptops, since it also includes the Zen name. ASUS could pivot to different product branding in India, but Zenfone is an established name that’s been around for half a decade.
Android Authority reached out to ASUS for a response to the ruling, but didn’t receive a reply by press time. ASUS has a hearing scheduled for July 10, when the company will have to convince the Delhi High Court its decision to use the Zenfone name isn’t a trademark violation.