Xiaomi, the electric scooter manufacturer that a handful of the shared electric scooter services in the U.S. (like ones from Lyft, Spin and Bird) rely on, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lyft. In the letter, obtained by TechCrunch, Xiaomi says it did not consent to associate its brand with Lyft.
Xiaomi alleges Lyft has referenced Xiaomi’s brand in its advertisements and other documentation referring to its shared electric scooter business.
“We also do not condone Lyft’s unauthorized modification or retrofitting of our electric scooters for general public use,” Xiaomi wrote in its letter.
If Lyft does not cease to use, purchase and modify its scooters, Xiaomi says it will pursue legal action against Lyft. Xiaomi also demands that Lyft must stop deploying its scooters “that have been modified without our consent in public scooter rentals.”
But Lyft says it has no knowledge of using Xiaomi’s trademarks in its advertising.
“We have no intention of using any other company’s trademarks in advertising our scooters, and are not aware of any instance of having done so with our existing suppliers,” a Lyft spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We will address these concerns with them directly. Safety modifications, including slowing scooter speeds, have been made to satisfy local regulatory guidelines.”
Lyft currently operates its shared electric scooter service in Santa Monica, Calif., Washington, D.C. and Denver, Colo.
“Lyft’s modification to any scooters originally manufactured by Xiaomi without our knowledge, participation, or approval undoubtedly exposes Xiaomi to serious legal risks and liabilities for consumer safety and product liability,” the letter states.
But, as mentioned earlier, Lyft is not the only company that uses Xiaomi scooters. Spin and Bird also use scooters from Xiaomi. Bird, however, has a partnership of sorts with Xiaomi. In May, Bird said it made an exclusive deal with Xiaomi for rights to its supply of scooters for shared services in the U.S. But one scooter executive told TC’s Jonathan Shieber at the time that their company also had a contract with Xiaomi.
TechCrunch has reached out to Uber and Spin to clarify their respective relationships with Xiaomi. I’ve also reached out to Xiaomi and will update this story if I hear back.
In the meantime, you can read the full letter from Xiaomi to Lyft below.
*An earlier version of this story said Uber uses scooters from Xiaomi. Uber actually uses scooters from Ninebot, which is produced by Segway. Though, Xiaomi does own Segway.
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