iPhone Plans Naming Battle in Brazil

In most parts of the world, the word “iPhone” covers everything about one thing: Apple’s mobile device.  You know…the iPhone. In Brazil, however, things may not be that simple. That’s because Apple may lose naming rights in that country.

The problem stems from the fact that a Brazillian company by the name of IGB Eletrônic has been selling its G-Gradiente iPhone for 13 years. As is its wont, Apple wants to do battle, and fiercely defend its iPhone trademark.

The Brazilian Institute for Industrial Property (INPI)–the agency overseeing such matters in Brazil–may not be eager to give Apple exclusive rights to the word “iPhone,” however. Their decision will become public tomorrow in the official publication of record for patent and trademark decisions.

Clearly, Apple wants it their way: when customers buy iPhone in Brazil, they want an Apple product in that bag, not an IGB product.

Complicating Apple’s quest for trademark dominance is the pesky fact that Gradiente has held the trademark to the word “iPhone” since 2008, and all it has to do is request that INPI enforce its rights, which would for all intents and purposes render Apple’s application null and void.

Then, if Apple wanted the rights, they’d have to spend copious amounts of cash to purchase the rights.

IGB was on shaky ground for a little bit; with just 15 days before their trademark rights would have been lost, they released the G-Gradiente iPhone, their most recent product, so if Brazilian authorities take everything into account, the decision could go either way. If Apple wins the battle, iPhone carriers in Brazil are bound to be happy; they’ll only have one product named “iPhone” to deal with.