Apple loses iPhone trademark appeal in Mexico

By , Mar 15, 2013

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

Apple’s luck protecting the iPhone name has taken a turn for the worse with Friday development that the firm has lost an appeal over its use of the iPhone moniker in Mexico, reports The Wall Street Journal. The ruling marks Apple’s second setback in Latin America after a Brazilian patent office a month ago approved the iPhone trademark to a local electronics maker IGB Eletronica SA.

That Brazilian firm, better known by its brand name Gradiente, owned rights to the iPhone name since 2000, long before Apple introduced its handset. In the case of Mexico-based Ifone SA, it had registered the ‘Ifone’ trademark back in 2003 and was making proper use of it, the nation’s Supreme Court ruled Friday…

Anthony Harrup, writig for The Wall Street Journal:

A Mexican technology services company is hoping to reap compensation from Apple Inc. and local mobile operators for the use of its brand name – Ifone – after Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that the local firm owns and makes proper use of the brand in the country.

It was reported in November 2012 that a Mexico City Judge denied Apple’s injunction request to let it sell its iPhone-branded products in the country.

The dispute actually dates back to 2009 when the California firm attempted to register the iPhone trademark in Mexico, only to be told by the Mexican Industrial Property Institute that the name was already taken.

Apple did sue Ifone SA, arguing its rights to the moniker had expired, but a federal court disagreed and now the Supreme Court has rejected Apple’s appeal.

iFone

Ifone SA is in it for the money.

They’re a small to medium sized company that sells server systems to telcos and is the local representative for the software solutions provider AltiGen Communications Inc.

A company lawyer said Ifone SA has already submitted claims to the Industrial Property Institute IMPI, seeking damages from Apple and the three Mexican telcos who carry Apple’s handset in the 115 million people country: America Movil’s unit Telcel, Spain’s Telefonica SA and Grupo Iusacell.

This is a repeat of the Brazil case.

After Apple lost the iPhone trademark to Gradiente, a Brazilian phone maker, the Cupertino firm did appeal the decision, but in all likelihood will have to pay a fee for rights to use the iPhone name in the country. It’s also interesting that Gradiente had five years to make use of the iPhone trademark and just before the deadline they cunningly released an Android handset called Iphone Neo One, depicted below.

IGB Electronica iPhone (image 001)

Local companies like Ifone must be realizing that Apple is willing to pay millions so they won’t settle and instead pursue their claims before local IP authorities, seeking monetary damages in excess of millions of dollars.

The strategy appears to be working: just last year, Apple paid China-based Proview $60 million to drop a challenge of the iPad trademark.

Shortly after the iPhone was announced in January 2007, network equipment giant Cisco began a similar trademark challenge which was resolved a month later.

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  • http://twitter.com/manishrana50 Manish Rana

    Don’t sell it there.

    • http://twitter.com/Saul_kdg Saul Rodriguez

      Why not people in mexico want iphones too

    • jilex

      because you say so?

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Cool, they probably made 10x their annual profit just from this trademark lawsuit.

    • http://twitter.com/EnriquetaBrasin Enriqueta Brasini

      uptil I saw the receipt which said $8629, I didn’t believe that…my… father in law had been actualey erning money part time at their computer.. there aunts neighbour haz done this for only about twenty one months and resantly paid for the loans on there mini mansion and bourt a top of the range Cadillac. go to,……… BIT40.ℂom

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

    Brazillian company had the trademark in 2000, actually sells a product called the iPhone. Mexican company had it since 2003, actually sells server systems. Oh yeah, they’re totally in it just for the money since they actually sell a product, and don’t just collect patents…

    • seyss

      nothing is that black and white amigo.
      the brazilian company released that shitty phone ON COST just to get money out of apple

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=604885391 Richard Borkovec

        I know it’s not black and white, but the fact these two companies actually sell products with those names, and aren’t just holding the patent, means they actually do use it.

  • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

    Is there a place on this planet that doesn’t have the iPhone moniker? Seems like every street corner of every country has one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

    How is iFone same as iPhone… If you miss spell a word then it’s different right? Why not just call the iFone iTaco instead. Ppl are just trying to tap not apples cash reserves.. Tut tut

    • Guest

      or icamel where you are from khan

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        Camesl are kool, the battery would never run out..

    • jilex

      why not call it the iTaco? it’s easy, because of iTards like you that hear “Mexico” and they think on everyone eating tacos :/

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        I like Taco’s… Besides Taco’s bell just like a phone? :P
        It’s not a serious comment, chill!

      • jilex

        you’re right, i let myself go on that one, i’m sorry n.n it’s just i get mad with that kind of things, we mexicans are not like that

      • http://www.facebook.com/tafk1 Taf Khan

        It’s kool dude, no offence intended.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BtxNeo Marco Urrea

    Ist Mexican institute of the property @christian Zibreg

  • Cornstarch

    next they would be suing Iran and Iraq for having the “I” in their name like they sued a supermarket for having called the market “Apple Market” with an apple logo that doesn’t even look like Apple’s own logo

  • Geovani Salazar

    A country that does not have legal permit to the name iPhone, humm, very interesting…