Brazil’s National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) rejected the Cupertino giant’s claim to trademark the name iPhone, and denied that Apple didn’t have exclusive rights over the brand name in Brazilian markets.
Apple had earlier claimed that Brazilian electronics company, Gradiente, was using its trademarked name- ‘iPhone’ to sell its products. As a matter of fact, Gradiente had also released an Android based iPhone. A perfect oxymoron, that.
INPI, which looks after the patent cases in Brazil, after hearing the cases from both sides, came to a decision that the brand ‘iPhone’ originally belongs to Brazil’s Gradiente as the company had registered the name in 2000, seven years before the first iPhone was released.
When Apple released the iPhone in Brazil in 2007, Gradiente was yet to launch any product on the patented name, as it was in a ‘poor financial condition’. In 2006, Apple had filed a petition to possess exclusive rights to use the word ‘iPhone’ for branding its products. It was never solicited as Gradiente’s request had been received first. However, Apple was given the freedom to use the name in marketing and instruction manuals.
Ironically, just when the patent was about to expire in December 2012, Gradiente launched a new flagship device with the name iPhone.
Gradiente has said that the decision would be officially published in its Intellectual Property magazine, next week.