Apple Challenges Brazil Ruling on “iPhone” Trademark

It didn’t take long for Apple to strike back against Brazil’s copyright regulators who sided with the local firm Gradiente Electronica SA on Wednesday over the use of the “iPhone” brand name. Today, the tech giant is challenging the ruling set by the Institute of Industry Property (INPI), citing that the Brazilian company’s iPhone trademark in 2000 is invalid.

Gradiente Electronica SA, whom initially requested the use of the trademark 13 years ago, was only granted the use of the trademark in 2008 and is now fighting to hold onto it. However, Apple is saying that the consumer electronics company has not made use of the trademark in the last five years (2008-2013), which would legally prompt the release of all rights to the moniker in the country of Brazil. According to the, Gradient Electronica has up to 60 days to prove it has used the trademark since January 2008.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of Gradiente unexpectedly launching its own series of Android-based handsets in early December, which use the “iPhone” moniker. Consequently, the Brazilian-based company has made a small fortune selling these off-brand products.

Yet, the question still remains whether December’s release of the spate of iPhones will be enough to prove that the trademark is theirs or if other evidence needs to come into play.

Apple could also reach a settlement with Gradiente out of court, which may save them the hassle of unnecessary legal proceedings, seeing as they might be on the wrong side of the case. In early 2007, the company struck a similar deal with Cisco Systems, which had also obtained the rights to use the iPhone name. The following year, Apple settled out of court with Proview, a China-based computer manufacturing company, to use the iPad trademark.


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