What happened: Xiaomi has sent a letter to US ride-rental company Lyft, demanding that it stop using its electric scooters for rental services. In the letter, Xiaomi complained that its brand had been associated with Lyft’s in advertising about the “shared scooters.” The smart device manufacturer also did “not condone Lyft’s unauthorized modification or retrofitting” of scooters, citing legal and consumer safety concerns. Xiaomi has said that it may follow up with legal action over the matter. In response, a Lyft spokesperson said the company is not aware of having used any suppliers’ trademarks in their ads. They added that “Safety modifications, including slowing scooter speeds, have been made to satisfy local regulatory guidelines.”
Why it’s important: Although electric scooter rental is still a fairly new phenomenon in the US, several companies have already entered the field. Among them, Lyft is currently a fairly small player, having only entered three cities so far. It’s not clear why Lyft was singled out, as it isn’t the sole company using Xiaomi scooters; American companies Spin and Bird also use the brand. The letter might be explained in part by Bird’s May announcement that it has an exclusive contract for Xiaomi scooters. However, another scooter rental company later told TechCrunch that they also have a contract, casting some doubt on that claim.