By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 17, 2013 12:36 PM EDT
Apple is fighting to secure the legal rights to the iPhone name outside of the U.S., but suffered another major setback in a ruling this week.
For those unfamiliar with the issue, a Mexican technology services company is looking to reap some compensation from Apple and local mobile operators for the use of its brand name - Ifone. Mexico's Supreme Court already upheld a ruling that the local company owns and makes proper use of its brand in the country.
Apple's troubles in the country started in 2009, when the Cupertino giant tried to register its phone name in Mexico and learned from the Mexican Industrial Property Institute that the name was already taken.
The iPhone maker filed suit to have the Ifone brand revoked on grounds that it had expired for the Mexican company, but a federal court disagreed. Ifone SA was registered in 2003 and the court ruled that the Mexican firm was making proper use of it. This week, the Supreme Court dealt another blow to Apple, rejecting Apple's appeal against the decision.
In other words, the Mexico Supreme Court upheld the lower court's decision to continue granting the ownership of the iPhone name to Ifone SA, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Consequently, Ifone SA has its "Ifone" brand all to itself, though it doesn't have any smartphone products. In its own legal offensive filed with the Industrial Property Institute, the Mexican company is going after Apple and three local mobile carriers for monetary damages.
On the other hand, this is hardly the first time that Apple faces troubles with its product names outside the U.S., but all previous scuffles ended in settlements. Last year, the Cupertino giant fought Chinese company Proview for the rights to the iPad trademark in the country. Apple paid $60 million last July to settle that dispute.
More recently, Apple also faced some challenges in Brazil with local telecommunications firm IGB Electronica over the rights to the iPhone name. That matter is also close to a settlement.
A more notorious case was in the U.S., where Apple fought Cisco Systems in early 2007 for the iPhone name, just months after releasing the product. Cisco sued Apple for trademark infringement immediately after the iPhone unveiling in January 2007, but the companies settled one month later. How much will Apple pay now to settle the "Ifone" dispute in Mexico?
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.