Apple has lost a critical patent battle in Brazil, leaving local firm Gradiente free to market its own “iphone” in the country. But it’s only a budget Android model, so there won’t be a huge amount of confusion among buyers.
The case covers Brazilian tech company Gradiente Eletronica, which fortuitously registered the trademark “iphone” (with lowercase “p”) in the country back in the year 2000, long before Apple launched its enormously successful smartphone. Apple claims Gradiente should surrender rights to use this name as the company never got around to launching its iphone until late 2012, but a local court has ruled in favour of Gradiente, meaning Apple can’t claim exclusive ownership of the iPhone name in the country.
Apple still retains the rights to use the iPhone name on its own phones and in other forms of software and merchandise at the moment, but this legal decision means Gradiente may also sell its “iphone” — and can now sue for complete exclusivity of the name for use with mobiles. Meaning Apple would either have to quite the lucrative market or come up with an alternative name for its mobile over there.
Apple’s appealing the decision. [BBC]