Copyright regulator to strip Apple of its iPhone trademark in Brazil

By , Feb 6, 2013

iPhone-5-Apple-Store-window-UTC-la-jolla

On Monday, we passed along a report claiming that Apple is in jeopardy of losing its ‘iPhone’ trademark in Brazil. It applied for exclusive rights to the name back in 2007, and is expecting to hear a decision from the country’s copyright regulator next week.

The problem is that the iPhone trademark has belonged to electronics maker IGB Eletrônica SA since 2008. And rumor has it that the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property is going to rule in its favor, meaning Apple couldn’t use the term anymore…

Reuters reports:

“Brazil’s copyright regulator will strip Apple Inc of the right to use its iPhone trademark in Latin America’s biggest market and granted the trademark to a local company that registered it first, a source familiar with the decision said on Tuesday.”

IGB Eletrônica SA says that it had “foreseen the revolution in the convergence of voice and data over the Internet,” leading it to apply for the trademark back in 2000. The company later secured rights to the name from a local copyright regulator in 2008.

Of course, that’s their side of the story. Here’s what Marcus Mendes, who lives in Brazil, has to say about it (via The Loop):

“Let me get this straight. After Steve Jobs announced the iMac in 1998 and justified the use of the prefix i because of the internet, Gradiente registered the name iPhone and never did anything about it. The years passed, Apple released a product called iPhone, it became one of the most successful products in the history of the world, while Gradiente went bankrupt (wonder why) and was bought by IGB Eletronica SA.

Then, last November, 2 months before license for the naming rights in Brazil expired, they rushed and released a shitty Android-based phone just to secure the name.”

I have to admit, Mendes has a point here. It seems awfully sketchy that IGB Eletrônica, after sitting on the iPhone trademark for years, would rush an Android phone that uses the name to market, just two months before the naming rights were set to expire.

And the company obviously has no intent to maintain the smartphone line, because its president Eugenio Staub told Bloomberg yesterday that he’s ‘open’ to selling the iPhone trademark. “We’re open to a dialogue for anything, anytime,” he said. “We’re not radicals.”

Is any of this sounding familiar? It should. Apple spent the better half of last year fighting with Proview over the ‘iPad’ name in China, before eventually settling with the company out of court for some $60 million. It looks like IGB is playing a similar game here.

It’ll be interesting to see how Apple handles the situation, if the Institute of Intellectual Property really does rule against them. The iPhone is by far Apple’s best-selling product, and Brazil happens to be one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world.

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  • Roddisq

    They are doing to apple what apple does to everybody and I hope they make big cash on this….It is just like a black rectangle with round corners OR the look and feel of something…

    • sadaN

      I am Brazilian myself, and I can tell you that this company is formed by a bunch of bastards who saw an opportunity of making easy money by registering the name here before Apple.

      They didn’t invent something and tried to protect it from copiers, unlike Apple.

      Your arguments suck…

      • Kurt

        You’re just biased. Apple doesn’t love you, like you love Apple. Your love affair with that company is one sided.

      • sadaN

        Thing is my friend, I am not protecting Apple, even a bit. You clearly misunderstood me, just like Eduardo Malheiros who posted below, I feel ashamed of being Brazilian for what this company has done.

      • Kurt

        Sorry for misunderstanding you. But please, don’t feel ashamed for being Brazil because of what a few people do that you disagree with. That’s silly. No need for that really.

      • sadaN

        Glad you get my point, I feel ashamed because, perhaps Apple deserve it, ok, but not citizens who spent their hard-earned money (we’ve got the most expensive iPhone in the world) in something that could now be discontinued, lose value, have name changed, God knows what Apple’s decision will be.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cristthian Cristhian Vieira

        You really think Apple could change iPhone’s name here, I’m mean seriously, just because this piece of shit called Gradient, come on.

      • http://www.facebook.com/cristthian Cristhian Vieira

        One side love, LOL’z

      • Roddisq

        So apple created the black rectangle with round corners then? Moron…That is what YOU think, fanboy

        Your argument is not even an argument

      • sadaN

        You must be retard or something, the point here is not what Apple did, but what this opportunist company from my country did you illiterate piece of crap…

      • Roddisq

        Man..they don´t teach people to be polite in your country? I tought applefangays used to be nice and kind.
        FYI apple is a very opportunist company and maybe the most…xerox mouse ring a bell? douche

      • http://www.facebook.com/cristthian Cristhian Vieira

        Never mind Rod, that little shit probably is just a Kid with, a broadband connection, and time to lose.

      • Hyr3m

        iSheeple are mostly hipsters, hipsters are mostly douches, douches are mostly never nice. (unless you’re attractive and they want to shag you)

      • http://www.facebook.com/sergio.maduro Sergio Maduro

        Don’t mind him, he is ubviously a troll, I mean seriously who goes around apple based news website and talk crap? Trolls, just ignore them :P

      • sadaN

        Thanks Sergio, but even worse than these trolls are Brazilians who team up with them like Cristhian Vieira just to prove he’s able of making use of the English he learnt at school, how pathetic.

      • Rafael Nunes

        And that’s not what ALL COMPANIES does to make profit? You’re just hurt because it’s against Apple. It happens all the time… Welcome to the jungle.

  • Hyr3m

    Good for them! Seriously milk that crapple cow as much as you can! Don’t forget to get some damages for all the iPhones that were illegally sold under that name in Brazil for all those years!

    • Kurt

      hahaha.

  • WolfgangHoltz

    Hahahahaha. Same blunder again like the iPad and Proview in China last year. Wonder how much Apple have to pay now to secure the name iPhone in Brazil.

    • Kurt

      I think it would be funny if they never secure the name of the iPhone in Brazil and have to come up with a different name haha

      • Kurt

        2 people hit the wrong button

  • Eduardo Malheiros

    As a brazilian I feel totally ashamed. Not only IGB Eletrônica haven’t used for a long time as already mentioned, as I think it’s ridiculous for any brand or regulatory organization of any country to question a name with a brand equity as global as the iPhone. Ask anyone about what an iPhone is and give the name to the most voted device. I think we all know which one it is.

    • Kurt

      As an American I’m frequently Ashamed about Apple.

  • http://twitter.com/rlmeena Roshan

    I don’t understand, what is wrong with this? It’s perfectly OK.

    They secured the trademark when both of the companies were not in cell phone business. Plus, at that time there was not a single hint about apple to create a phone. So they registered it hoping they might build a phone with same name. But their finances never allowed them.

    So what Apple created a phone years later. They still own trademark in Brazil.