IGB Electronica iPhone (image 002)

A Brazil judge Wednesday ruled that Apple can use the iPhone name, clearing the way for the tech giant to compete in South America’s burgeoning smartphone market. The ruling reverses an earlier finding that gave a Brazilian company exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark. In his ruling, the judge declared Apple and IGB Electronica must share the iPhone name, writing the U.S. company had built a well-known line of iDevices…

Judge Eduardo de Brito Fernandes wrote (via AFP) that Apple’s iPhone is “world renown” and it would be unfair to permit IGB Electronica’s Android-powered Gradient IPHONE to have sole ownership of the trademarked name. In 2012, Apple lost its bid to legally use the iPhone name in Brazil after IGB won a ruling from the country’s Institute of Industrial Property. Today’s ruling follow’s Apple’s appeal.

Fernandes also wrote that the Gradient IPHONE name was simply joining “internet” and “phone” as a way to indicate a handset with internet access. The story isn’t over yet, as IGB plans to appeal this latest ruling.

Apple has found Brazil troublesome for its other major product, the iPad. Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed there claiming Apple’s iPad 3 was intentionally made obsolete with the introduction of the iPad 4 including features not available in the earlier tablet. In June, the iPad mini was released in Brazil, where both Apple and its manufacturing partner Foxconn have plants.

Some observers of Apple’s Brazil woes thought the iPhone trademark case might follow an earlier naming dispute in China. In that instance, the dispute was over the iPad name and Apple eventually paid $60 million to buy the trademark from bankrupt Chinese firm ProView.

Brazil is key for Apple and its expansion beyond the US. Earlier this year, a report indicated by 2018 so-called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) would surpass the US as a market for devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

  • Umut Bilgiç

    Lol. Apple payed $ 60.000.000 to a bankrupt chines company. They should be up and running atm 😛

    • Singed

      I know right, how can you mess up by getting sixty million bucks from a lawsuit?
      I guess that was a great example on how to NOT run a company 😀

  • chumawumba

    Now Apple will fight for the name Gradient as well. After all, it’s pretty much iOS 7’s theme

  • Urk

    Apple shouldn’t get to use the name if the other company had it first. It it was the other way around Apple would be suing the company into the ground. I annoys me when these big companies like Apple and McDonald@: think they can just barge in shiit on smaller businesses just because they’re well known.

    • Brandon Lee Robinson

      That’s cool, let IGB have the name iPhone. When Brazil cannot purchase or import Apple devices, make sure to stand up for what you believe in…

      • Sheldon Mendes

        IGB requested the register of the name iPhone in 2000. In 2008 the request is approved. Before Apple starts the sales in Brazil.

      • Franck Kamayou

        However, it’s not fair for Brazilians to not be able to have iPhones just because some company is holding the name.

      • Urk

        They’re are not just “holding the name” though? They created a product, they thought of a name and they followed the rules and procedures that a company should follow and now because Apple is bigger they can just come in and stomp all over that? I bet you wouldn’t say that if a company was trying to come into America and use the name iMac and Apple would no way in hell ever allow any company to use it. No negotiating no talking. Nothing, it would be change it or get out. You know it’s true.

      • Franck Kamayou

        Well if a company come into America, with a product that’s 10 times better and 10 times more beneficial for the Americans, I wouldn’t be complaining. Say for example there this company that makes aircraft parts for the NASA and they decide to call their product IMAC, you think it would be fair or not fair for such a product to be commercialized in the US alongside the iMac?

      • Brandon Lee Robinson

        I can definitely see that, however even if so, why did it not come around until just now to rear it’s head. You know what, if you want to tell everyone in Brazil that they cannot have an iPhone because of a patent issue, be my guest. I have seen people comes from all parts of the world, come into the country and attempt to smuggle iPhones out. Now if they would like to come to any agreement that they can use the name for a small royalty, I could definitely see that working out.

        However, that is not the case. IGB requested that apple not be allowed to use the name iPhone at all, and to me, that shows that they have ill intentions. I am all for spreading technology throughout the world, but when you try to get technology banned from your country, that is selfish and immature. I am sure apple would not mind paying a small royalty per device sold in Brazil. Granted, that cost would be passed to the consumer, but I do not think they would have a problem with that. However that is not the case and they appear to either A. Be wanting to make it so that Brazilians are not able to have Apple products, or B. They just want way too much money and know that they cannot compete with a company such as Apple.

      • Loopthree

        Ridiculous

    • sadaN

      Being Brazilian myself and knowing that the company has only registered the name with intentions of getting money out of Apple to get out of their bankruptcy, I think there is pretty fair what Apple have done.

      In other words, if I knew that the company had intentions of developing a phone called iPhone from the beginning, and making it actually hit the market, I would be defending the company from my country. However, that was not the case, and I’m not even sure Gradiente will survive after not having cash from the beginning and now having to pay their attorneys.

    • Joseph

      Isn’t iPhone different from IPHONE? Hmm..

    • Chindavon

      I don’t think Apple was a big fan of an Android OS into a device called iPhone either.

  • FOFF

    ooohh somebody just got some $$$$$$$$$

  • ɑղժɾҽա

    Yay for Apple! I love iPhone!

  • Jo

    that is cool!

  • apple the best

  • Diego Gastón Milano

    “Russia, I’m coming for you!”