Apple Inc is to challenge Brazilian company Gradiente Eletronica, controlled by IGB Eletronica, for the rights to use the iPhone brand name in Brazil. The US vendor’s legal bid comes hard on the heels of Brazilian regulator INPI’s decision to uphold Gradiente Eletronica’s claim to the name; the company filed its request for the IPHONE name seven years before Apple launched its now ubiquitous smartphone.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December last year Gradiente surprised the local market when it announced the launch of a smartphone line in the country under the brand name ‘IPHONE’. At the time, the parent company said it had filed its original petition to register and sell devices using the IPHONE name in Brazil twelve years ago – well before Apple’s iPhone release. ‘In 2000 Gradient filed to register a trademark for the IPHONE brand with INPI. On 2 January 2008 the company had its registration granted by the federal agency and started to hold the exclusive rights to produce and market this brand until 2018,’ it said.
However, Apple Inc is launching a challenge to Gradiente’s rights to the trademark, meaning the latter has 60 days in which to prove to INPI that it did in fact use the trademark between January 2008 and January 2013 – in order to comply with Brazilian rules which state that brands be actively developed within five years of their approval.