October 3, 2009 / 1:48 AM / 10 years ago

Nokia Brazil brand battle goes to higher court

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s Nokia can continue to use its Ovi brand in Brazil for now, a court ruled on Friday, but the legal battle over its new services brand continues in the largest telecoms market in the Latin America.

Brazilian telecommunications services company Ouvi Divulgacao e Marketing em Celulares Ltda says Nokia is abusing the Ovi brand in Brazil to compete directly with Ouvi, a brand the Brazilian company has used since 2004.

The Brazilian company had asked for a preliminary injunction against Nokia to stop the Finnish company from using the Ovi brand in the country, but the judge ruled against this.

“We are very pleased with that,” said a Nokia spokesman in Helsinki. “We continue to believe we have a strong case.”

Tore Haugland, chief executive of Ouvi, said his company will appeal the decision.

“Our firm will briefly file for an appeal before the higher court in order to grant such injunction that forbids Nokia to launch Ovi services in Brazil,” he told Reuters.

“We are looking forward to a quick resolution, which will allow us to continue investing in our brand and sell value added services without any unfair competition where Nokia tries to take over our brand.”

Nokia says it believes Ovi — a brand it introduced in 2007 — is distinctive enough from Ouvi, adding Ovi has a different meaning in Finnish. Nokia also said the brand would be commonly used together with the Nokia trademark.

Brazil’s Ouvi says that, in 2004, it also registered an Ovi domain — ovi.com.br — as the pronunciation of Ovi and Ouvi in Brazilian Portuguese is the same.

“We have already had people calling our customer support thinking we were Nokia,” Haugland said, adding also that Brazilian media has been referring to its domain ovi.com.br in articles about Nokia.

The court battle in Brazil is the latest trouble for Nokia’s Ovi services, launched with much fanfare in 2007, but which have had a rough start, with only a few of the services finding traction on the market. Nokia has delayed launches in some markets and ramped down some services.

Reporting by Tarmo Virki; additional reporting by Walter Brandimarte in New York; editing by Andre Grenon

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