Apple does not have exclusive rights to iPhone trademark in Brazil, regulators ruleAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
Late last year, a Brazilian firm known as Gradiente Electronica released a new Android smartphone dubbed "iPhone Neo One" (pictured above) in its home country. If you guessed that that's something that would rile Apple up a bit, you're right, as the Cupertino firm argued to Brazil's Institute of Industrial Property that it should have exclusive rights to the iPhone name in Brazil, despite the fact that Gradiente registered for the "iphone" trademark back in 2000.
Today the BBC reports that the INPI has come to a decision on the matter, ruling that Apple does not have exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in Brazil. Apple will still be able to sell its iPhones in Brazil, but Gradiente now can sue for exclusivity of the name. The INPI also said that Apple still has exclusive rights to use the iPhone name in other instances, like on clothing or in software.
In stating its case as to why it should have exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark, Apple argued that while Gradiente may have registered for the name in 2000, the company didn't release a product bearing that name until December 2012. The INPI obviously didn't agree with Apple's argument. The Brazilian regulatory body has told the BBC that it believes Apple will seek an appeal of today's decision, which should come as a surprise to precisely no one, so expect to hear more about this legal tiff in the future. Until then, it looks like residents of Brazil will have the choice of Android or iOS flavors when they make the decision to become iPhone people.