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Apple Loses Brazil iPhone Trademark Dispute With Local Manufacturer

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Apple will appeal after it is not awarded exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in Brazil

Apple has suffered a blow in South America after Brazilian regulators ruled that it does not have the exclusive rights to use the iPhone trademark in the county.

The Insitute of Industrial Property (INPI) said that it rejected four of Apple’s trademark applications because Gradiente Electronica, a local manufacturer had registered the name in 2000, six years before the Cupertino-based company.

Brazil iPhone dispute

Gradiente iPhone Neo OneFour other applications were approved and Apple can continue to sell iPhones in the country, but the decision is a blow to the company in South America’s largest market as Gradiente could now have grounds to sue for exclusive rights to the name on the entire continent.

The current ruling applies only to handsets and Apple will continue to have exclusive rights to the iPhone name on clothing, software and publications. Apple has said that it will appeal the ruling, arguing that it should be given full rights to the name as Gradiente did not release a product using the name until December 2012 when it launched the Android-powered iPhone Neo One for £196.

Its appeal will ask the INPI to cancel Gradiente’s registration through expiration. Last year, the company settled a similar trademark dispute in China. Apple faced a product ban in the country before it agreed a £38.2 million ownership settlement with Proview Technology over the iPad trademark in China.

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