Apple Likely To Lose iPhone Naming Rights In Brazil

6 February 2013, 9:35 am EST By Binu Paul email: Mobile & Apps

The copyright regulators in Brazil will likely ban Apple from using its iPhone trademark in the country and may grant the naming rights to a local electronics company.

A Brazilian consumer electronics maker, Gradiente Eletronica SA has reportedly registered the iPhone name back in 2000. Brazil's National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) body is most likely to rule in favor of the company on the dispute, rejecting Apple's claim for exclusive "iPhone" naming rights.

"Citing people familiar with the matter, local publication Folha de S.Paulo reported on Tuesday that the INPI ruled Brazilian electronics maker IGB, which was awarded rights to "iPhone" under the Gradiente brand in 2008 after filing for it in 2000, will retain exclusive rights to the trademark," Apple Insider reported. However, an official word on the issue is yet to come. NPI said it will officially announce its decision on Feb. 13.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that IGB may consider selling the trademark rights to Apple; however, the Cupertino tech giant is yet to approach the Brazilian company. In an interview with Bloomberg, Eugenio Emilio Staub, chairman of IGB said that the company is open to a dialogue.

IGB was awarded the naming rights in 2008 for a trademark application it registered in 2000.  Though Apple has been selling its flagship smartphone in Brazil for several years, IGB began selling its iPhone in December.  The Android-powered smartphone (named iPhone) was introduced in black and white and was sold at $302.

Apple can approach the Brazilian courts to challenge the decision.

Apple had faced a similar situation in the U.S. when it had to fight a legal battle and finally reach an agreement with Cisco which owned the iPhone naming rights in 2007.

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