Apple loses iPhone naming rights in Brazil (update)

By on February 13, 2013, 12:28 PM

Update: The Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property has ruled that Apple does not hold exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark in the country. According to the BBC, the decision only applies to handset devices, and won’t prevent Apple from marketing its popular smartphone under the iPhone brand unless IGB Electronica exercises its option of suing for complete, exclusive control over the trademark.

Apple still has the option to appeal and if that fails the company will probably have to shell out a few millions for the naming rights. Cupertino will keep some exclusivity over the “iPhone" name when the trademark is used for anything other than smartphones.

Original story is below.

Apple will reportedly lose the right to use the iPhone trademark in Latin America in the near future. A source familiar with the decision recently told Reuters that Brazil’s copyright regulator will strip Apple of the rights and award it to a local consumer electronics maker.

According to the source, the trademark will soon belong to Gradiente Electronica SA, a company that allegedly registered the “iphone” name in 2000 – a full seven years before Apple launched their now iconic handset.

IGB Electronica SA, a company that came about after Gradiente restructured, launched their own Android-based “iphone” last December in black and white, just like Apple’s offering. The phone sells for just over $300, we’re told.

In a separate story from Bloomberg, IGB chairman Eugenio Emilio Staub said he would consider selling the naming rights to Apple and they were open to dialogue for anything at any time. A similar incident in China last year saw Chinese electronics company Proview give up their rights to the “ipad” trademark for a cool $60 million.

We are hearing that the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property will make the decision official on February 13. The publication said an Apple spokesperson in Brazil declined to comment but Cupertino could challenge the ruling locally after the decision is made public.

The timing seems well calculated as Apple is just now targeting Brazil as a region for key growth. As such, it seems unlikely that Apple will stop selling their smartphone in the country. We suspect them to either appeal the decision or purchase rights to the trademark outright.

User Comments: 12

Got something to say? Post a comment
Littleczr Littleczr said:

Just call it something else like "Phone I" or something.

Win7Dev said:

Or just offer $25 million and call it a deal.

3 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Just call it something else like "Phone I" or something.

I like it. Needs a hyphen though...Phone-I (pronounced Phone-eee)

Guest said:

I'd give them $60 million to pursue the fight in every country on the planet to take the name away from Apple which has no right to it. Make Apple recall all their stevePhones and rename them.

1 person liked this | Nima304 said:

Karma's a *****. Apple sues everyone for IP infringement, now they're being sued over intellectual property.

NeoFlux said:

Just call it something else like "Phone I" or something.

I'd think proper response to Apple would be "Change your phones name. Not that big of a deal"

Tygerstrike said:

No Apple will tell Brazil that they are holding the name of the phone wrong....

Guest said:

Yeah! And while we are at it, Pepsi change your name, and Chevrolet, find another name. Hey Gillette, give it up. You guys have no rights to your name.

Wonder Mike Wonder Mike said:

Just call it something else like "Phone I" or something.

I like it. Needs a hyphen though...Phone-I (pronounced Phone-eee)

nah, they just need to replace the hyphen with a comma. I, Phone.

Guest said:

Just remove iPhone from Brazil these law suit as to stop, at the end it's always the user who paid for it

Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

In fact, Gradiente has released this video clarifying the confusion and explaining the differences between both products. They were surprisingly honest, telling that Apple's product is much faster, has higher resolution and lots of other bells and whistles, while the Brazilian counterpart is quite a simpler device. But (and this a J Lo but), it allows you to use two chips simultaneously. Because you know, we need one for the wife and the other for all the remaining chicks. Of course not, it doesn't make sense to keep both chips in the same device. The reason for that is because cell phone companies charge a lot for calls to different companies, while calls between phones of the same company or even to land lines are very cheap.

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