The iPhone 5 just recently launched in Brazil last week as Apple's flagship device made its way into 50 more countries around the world. At the same time, a local Brazilian electronics manufacturer is going to compete with the iPhone 5 by selling the IPHONE.
IGB Electronics SA announced this morning that the company will begin selling the IPHONE in Brazil as an entry level Android device. The first device to be sold under the IPHONE name is called the Gradiente Neo One. It runs on Android 2.3, and features dual-sim capabilities, 3G, Wi-Fi and bluetooth.
So, how is IGB able to sell a product called the IPHONE in Brazil while Apple currently sells the iPhone? The company had applied for the IPHONE name in 2000, and finally secured the rights in 2008 from a patent regulator. The company hasn't used the name until now because its previous focus was getting through a restructuring period and getting back to selling products. Now it can focus on selling the IPHONE to consumers who may just want an iPhone.
Selling the phone to the less knowledgable should be pretty easy as well. The IPHONE will be sold at a ridiculously low price of 600 reais, or $286 USD. The iPhone 5 sells at 2,400 reais, or $1145 USD.
It should be pretty easy to tell the difference between the IGB's IPHONE and Apple's iPhone though. That being said, Apple is fiercely protective of its trademarks and will most likely file a lawsuit against IGB by the end of the week. For its part, IGB knows a lawsuit is likely coming and says that it will "adopt all measures" to preserve its right to the IPHONE name.
If it does end up going to court, it will be interesting to see what the Brazilian courts say. Is IPHONE different enough from iPhone? Is IGB's trademark application legitimate? In any case, it's going to be interesting to see how it plays out.[h/t: Macworld Brazil]