Apple has lost a fairly significant court case in Mexico this week. A Mexico City Judge has denied the company’s injunction request that would have allowed it to continue selling iPhone-branded products in the country.

Apparently, the “iPhone” moniker sounds too phonetically similar to iFone, a brand belonging to a Mexican telecommunications company. And the similarity is enough that Apple could be banned from using the name in the region…

Electronista (via MacRumors) reports:

“The decision stems from a legal action that Apple initially filed in 2009 requesting that the company cease using the iFone brand in order to head off the possibility of consumer confusion.

El Universal reports that the iFone trade name was registered in Mexico in 2003, some four years before Apple did so. Nonetheless, Apple sought unsuccessfully to gain sole control over the brand in the year after the iPhone first launched in Mexico.”

It’s unclear at this time what’s going to actually happen between iFone and Apple. There’s no word on when the ban could go into place, and obviously the iPad-makers have deep enough pockets to make a serious settlement offer.

Does any of this sound familiar? It should. Earlier this year, Apple ended a long legal battle with display-maker Proview, over the iPad trademark in China, by offering up a reported settlement of some $60 million dollars.

This is pretty interesting timing for the ruling though. Telcel and Movistar, two of Mexico’s largest carriers, are scheduled to begin selling the iPhone 5 on Friday. Yeah, I was a betting man, I’d say Apple makes iFone some kind of offer.

What do you think?

  • I don’t think Telcel and Movistar will stop selling the iPhone since they start selling at 837 dlls for the 16 Mb iPhone 4S.

  • Oswaldo P

    It doesn’t need an offer, if iFone sues Apple, according to Mexican laws, it could win up to 40% of the sales that Apple makes using the iPhone brand since the first introduction of the iPhone in Mexico. And since Apple has never win an argument in this case, the Mexican company has a great chance to win.

    • Kurt

      Go taco company!

      • You’re a racist dick. Just because it’s a Mexican company you have to make a taco refrence?

      • Carlos Briones

        Yes he does.

      • Mcsquared

        I’m sorry but what is so offensive about that comment?

        Did you have a traumatic experience involving tacos?

      • Kurt

        Jajaja that was funny! 🙂 I immidiately imagined a taco chasing him

      • Kurt

        Cell company. Stupid autocorrect.

        Do you want to apologize to this Gringo?

        Para q lo sepas- no soy racista, tu gillipollas.

  • abujafer

    If the case goes through, iFone could win up to 40% of all sales Apple has made in the region; while it would most likely be lower than that, that’s still a MASSIVE amount of cash for Apple to lose. And who knows how Apple is going to deal with the issue from now on; I don’t think they can just change the spelling/name of their strongest brand.

    I’m thinking they’ll have to pay a fee to iFone for every phone sold… one of the problems with being an international corporation.

  • Oscar Corrales

    Mexican carries will never allow the iPhone to be banned here in Mexico, at some point they are going to use its “influences” to calm this iFone company.

  • I think what happens will be based on what Apple sees will bring in more money:

    1. Leave the Mexico Market.
    2. Pay off iFone.

    Meaning if they know they will make enough sales that they will bring back the money they paid to iFone and more, Apple most likely will do that. If the iPhone market in Mexico isn’t that big, why would they invest the time to get the device there? Certainly that is a loss to the Mexicans and their choice of phone selection.

    • I’m just a little startled at Apple’s “BIG BRASS BALLS” for suing a company that owned a mark for a full 4 years prior to the invention / release of the iPhone!!!

      Even though I’m a HUGE fan of the iPhone / iPad – I hope iFONE hands Apple their ASS!!!! LOL!!!

  • Tr1pTr0p

    “Apple wanted iFone brand to be invalidated, which was filed in 2004, because it was similar to iPhone name which was filed in 2007.” Apple’s arrogance is biting them in the ass. Good.

  • Carlos Marcelo Farías

    Nice note! Well I have mine 4S from Telcel without contract ñor plan and, when I asked them for unlock them reply me no them can’t unlock iPhones. Does anyone knows a way to unlock from América Móvil México, AKA Telcel? Thanks in advance.