Authorities in Brazil on yesterday refused an Apple’s application to register its iPhone trademark in the country, having already approved a local company’s claim to the name.
The Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) “denied Apple registration of the iPhone trademark,” the institute’s media office informed AFP. The decision was formally authored by the INPI. Apple had requested for exclusive rights to the iPhone brand in Brazil in 2007 when it released the hugely well-known smartphone in the big Latin American market. But Brazilian company Gradiente SA had applied to register the brand name “Gradiente iphone” in 2000, and was granted rights to it in 2008.
Apple can still sell its smartphones in Brazil with the iPhone name, but Gradiente has the choice of suing for exclusivity, the institute said. The United States hi-tech giant had petitioned the institute to cancel Gradiente’s trademark, arguing that it had ended because the company had not used it in 5 years, the institute said. But Gradiente amazed the market by launching a “Gradiente iphone” at the end of the year, bringing the claim to a head. Its 1st iPhone family design, the Neo One, went on sale in December at a price tag close to $300 while Apple’s iPhone 5 also released in December retails for over triple the price.
Both Apple and Gradiente turned down to discuss the INPI judgment.