Apple challenges loss of iPhone trademark in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:33am EST

A man poses with an iPhone during Earth Hour in the center of Brasilia March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A man poses with an iPhone during Earth Hour in the center of Brasilia March 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino

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RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Apple Inc, which lost the rights to its iPhone trademark in Brazil on Wednesday, is challenging the ruling by Brazil's copyright regulator to prevent local firm Gradiente Eletronica SA from using the "iphone" brand name.

The regulator, Inpi, ruled on Wednesday that the rights to the trademark belong to Gradiente, prompting California-based Apple to request that the decision be reviewed in Latin America's largest market.

Consumer electronics maker Gradiente had filed its request to use the "iphone" brand in 2000, seven years before Apple launched its smartphone, but received approval to use the trademark only in 2008.

Now, in order to keep its trademark rights, Gradiente will need to prove to the regulator in the next 60 days that it made use of the trademark between January 2008 and January 2013, Inpi said late on Wednesday. Brands in Brazil must be developed within 5 years of gaining approval.

IGB Eletronica SA, a company formed after the restructuring of Gradiente, launched its "iphone" line of smartphones last December.

Officials from Apple and Gradiente didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

An Inpi spokesman said Apple could still take the case to court or negotiate an out-of-court settlement with Gradiente.

(Reporting by Juliana Schincariol; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Comments (1)
Douglearner wrote:
IGB Eletrônica is the REAL OWNER of the trademark IPHONE in Brazil. The firm required the name Iphone in 2000 and in 2008 it was given formal rights to use it and no other company could it. But Apple, in full arrogance, continued to use the name although the firm knew it had to ask for IGB’s permission. But Apple didn’t ask for anything and kept on selling the Iphone – Never tried an agreement with Gradiente, considering brazilian companies, Regulators and Justice close to nothing at all. Is there any company in the world that GETS ETHICAL BEHAVIOR doing this? If Apple REALLY, REALLY, REALLY RESPECTS THE LOCAL LAWS, THE BRAZILIAN PEOPLE, THE BRAZILIAN CAMPANIES AND THE BRAZILIAN CONSUMERS, it has to look for Gradiente and show it. Who did give permission to Apple to keep selling in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 until today? NO ONE. Apple simply itself THE RIGHTS. Nations looking for better actions and Apple doing this? Apple has great products and we think it is a company of good people NOT THIEVES of ideas. APPLE, PROVE IT NOW. PAY FOR WHAT IT AND SHOW AT LEAST A BIT OF ETHICAL CONDUCT. We think you can, but prove.

Feb 14, 2013 6:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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