While it will only apply within the borders of Brazil, regulators in the country have ruled that Apple does not have an exclusive trademark on the name iPhone, because ultimately it looks like local firm Gradiente Electronica, already registered the name back in 2000.
The company even has a video of how it came up with the idea. It’s in Portuguese, but you get the gist from the imagery:[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkRf6Gv4NtU’]
While Apple has appealed the decision as you might expect, this doesn’t prevent it from continuing to sell iPhones in the country, just that it doesn’t have exclusivity. However, Gradiente can sue for exclusivity, because it was the original registrar of the trademark.
Apple does own other iPhone trademarks in Brazil, including ones for clothing and other accessories, which it will be able to sell exclusively. “The trademarks approved today for Apple were related to other classes, such as education, software development and advertising. Since they are in other classes, different from communications and telephones, they could be approved,” stated a spokesperson for the Institute of Industrial Property.
What all this means though, is that if you travel to South America, you can actually buy an Android powered “iPhone,” known as the iPhone Neo One for around £200, according to the BBC.
KitGuru Says: Gradiente’s chairman has previously said that his company was happy to open a dialogue with Apple and discuss the situation, but it seems most likely that Apple will instead throw its huge cash and legal powers at its Brazilian competition to try and pay its way through to victory. It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out.