As we’d told you a few months ago, the “official” iPhone in Brazil is actually an Android phone, as Apple doesn’t own the “iPhone” trademark in the country. IGB Eletronica SA, the company that’s selling the Android iPhone, filed for the trademark in 2000, seven years before the iPhone was unveiled.
A few days ago, Brazilian regulatory body National Industrial Property Institute (INPI) rejected Apple’s request to exclusively use the iPhone trademark, but added that the company could continue selling the device in the country. The body’s decision only applies to electronic devices, so Apple continues to hold exclusive rights for using iPhone on clothing, software etc.
Although IGB Eletronica SA has indicated that it is open to selling its trademark to Apple, like Proview did in China, Apple seems to not be so keen on contacting them directly. Reuters reports that Apple has challenged the INPI’s ruling:
Apple Inc, which lost the rights to its iPhone trademark in Brazil on Wednesday, is challenging the ruling by Brazil’s copyright regulator to prevent local firm Gradiente Eletronica SA from using the “iphone” brand name.
Now, in order to keep its trademark rights, Gradiente will need to prove to the regulator in the next 60 days that it made use of the trademark between January 2008 and January 2013, Inpi said late on Wednesday. Brands in Brazil must be developed within 5 years of gaining approval.
IGB Electronics SA started using the “iphone” brand only in December last year, and it remains to be seen if that’ll help the company retain the trademark. If it does, Apple’s next option would be to settle out of court, which IGB is already open to.