Most of us know the iPhone to be Apple's prized smartphone - the device that ushered in the current mobile era we're experiencing. Unfortunately for Apple, a different company has the rights to the "IPHONE" name in Brazil.
That company is IGB Eletrônica SA (Gradiente), and it applied for the "IPHONE" trademark all the back in 2000. Apple released its first iPhone in 2007. The Wall Street Journal reports that the agency who oversees patents in Brazil said that it denied Apple's trademark application because of IGB's rights to the name. Matthew Cowley and Loretta Chao report:
Marcelo Chimento, spokesman for Brazil's National Institute of Industrial Property, or INPI, said Apple is contesting the decision, charging that Gradiente failed to make use of the trademark within a five-year window, as required by Brazilian trademark law. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
Apple Defends Proxy in Response to Greenlight Suit Unlike in the U.S., Brazilian trademark regulations stipulate that registrations be rewarded on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of which party used the trademark first, or which party brings more value and recognition to the brand.
The company, according to the Journal, only utilized its "iphone" power a few weeks before the deadline for when it was required to actually use it to keep the trademark. They used it to put out a device running Android, called the "iphone neo one". Here's a look:
Apple released its iPhone 5 in Brazil in December.