Apple appeals Brazil’s iPhone trademark ruling

By , Feb 13, 2013

iPhone 5 (teaser, the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone)

In a repeat of the ProView situation, Apple today lost exclusive rights to the ‘iPhone’ trademark in Brazil to a local company called IGB Electronics S.A. that sells an Android cheapo with ‘iPhone’ in its name. While this means both IGB and Apple are allowed to market ‘iPhones’ in the 200 million people country, Apple – keen on avoiding user confusion and public humiliation – has now appealed the decision by the Brazilian Institute for Industrial Property (INPI)…

According to Folha de São Paulo, Brazil’s major daily newspaper, Apple has appealed INPI’s decision on the grounds of forfeiture.

Apple’s argument is that Gradiente, the owner of the ‘iPhone’ moniker in Brazil, did not use the name within the legal limit of five years after it was granted the trademark in 2008.

Gradiente now has 60 days to prove that it had launched a product named ‘iphone’ or risk losing the trademark. The paper cites INPI members who note that the Brazilian Institute for Industrial Property’s decision has no bearing on sales.

Gradiente was selling its Neo-One handset since 2000.

Last year, it redesigned the device and released it as the ‘G-Gradiente iphone’, depicted below.

IGB Electronica iPhone (image 001)

They also sell the white version.

IGB Electronica iPhone (image 002)

The story mentions Gradiente could theoretically seek a court order to stop Apple from using the iPhone moniker in Brazil, though that would require a respective court ruling.

Gradiente is in it for the money.

They pulled a similar legal maneuver with the PlayStation name in the past so this gives us reasons to believe it trademarks big brands on purpose, so it could sell the moniker to its international owner once a product hits the local market.

That the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property has sided with IGB doesn’t help Apple’s cause. I think Cupertino will fight rather than employ the waiting tactics because having an Android product marketed under the ‘iPhone’ name sets a dangerous precedent.

Last year, Apple had been playing a cat and mouse game with China’s ProView over the iPad moniker for months.

Cook & Co. eventually settled the dispute in the summer 2012 for $60 million, but only after it became evident Apple couldn’t launch the tablet in the 1.33 billion people market without risking fines.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Ribeiro/100000334723179 Arthur Ribeiro

    I think Apple should give a big fuck you for Brazil (Btw I’m brazilian) and just remove iphones from Brazil stores, and let gradiente with empty hands and a big shit face, and just get some coca-cola and popcorn and watch all the people hate gradient and make it change idea.. I say that because at first place Apple didn’t place an Official Reseler here because of the ridiculous taxes(that are like that because of the government that steal our money all the way they can and never spend a dime towards the population), and now they have to deal with a shitty label wanting to do a rip off… Gradient does that because they know our judiciary system is messed up..

    • BoardDWorld

      Technically this situation would hold in any country… Apple has to pay, and will, likely a healthy sum.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Ribeiro/100000334723179 Arthur Ribeiro

        I understand your point, but you don’t know Brazil, you have no idea of how many taxes we pay for the government, google it. We are the 6 economy of the world, and the 88 in education, that can give you a shot of how many pop pays for nothing… They(politics) steal our taxes money and don’t invest them in education, etc.

        An iphone 5 there is 199+ 247 U$(something around that).. here an iphone 5 is 1250 dollars(assuming 1U$ = 2R$), your minimum salary is 600U$.. here its 250U$-salary taxes (yeah, they apply lots of taxes even at our salary).. a deputy here has a salary of more or less 13.000U$+124987.000U$(benefits), a teacher’s salary here is more or less 450U$.. Do you understand my anger? Brazil is full of thiefs in the power, and the other countries doesn’t know about it or give a sh**.. if at least our population fighte against the power, but they only fight for something when their soccerball team looses.. ashamed

      • http://www.facebook.com/justin.thurmond Justin Thurmond

        Yeah bud, save your money for a plane ticket and come to America :)

  • paolo scollo

    artur ribeiro

    why do you still live in brazil?

    brazil is not cuba

    brazil is a free country

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Ribeiro/100000334723179 Arthur Ribeiro

      Yeah, if I can find a job at US and university, I’ll move there, be sure of that

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Arthur-Ribeiro/100000334723179 Arthur Ribeiro

      Just because it`s free you assume everyone have enough money to move out? As well as the Brazil`s public services and infrastructure the minimum salary here is shit.