* Brazil firm registered "iphone" seven years before Apple
* Local regulator stripped Apple of trademark Wednesday
RIO DE JANEIRO Feb 14 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.