As if Apple wasn’t embroiled in enough legal battles, here is one more coming its way -albeit this one could have embarrassing repercussions. Apple might lose the right o use the name “iPhone” for its popular smartphone in the burgeoning market of Brazil. The country’s copyright regulator is likely to strip Apple Inc of the right to use that name in Brazil. This is because a Brazilian consumer electronics company was using the “iPhone” trademark a good 7 years before Apple introduced the iPhone.
The company in question is Gradiente Eletronica SA, a Brazilian consumer electronics maker which had registered the “iphone” name in the year 2000 – way before Apple even conceived the iPhone. Incidentally, Gradiente Eletronica SA has launched a lineup of Android powered smartphones that it calls the “iphone” back in December 2012.
The Brazilian copyrights regulator – The Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property is expected to give a ruling on February 13 – and experts are of the opinion that it is likely to go against Apple. This would mean that Apple would not be able to sell the iPhone as the “iPhone” in the huge Brazilian market. On the flip side, should the regulator rule against Apple, the ruling can be challenged in Brazilian courts.
Brazil, with a huge middle class populations is a large market for Apple’s iPhone and this ruling, if it goes against them could possibly hit them hard. Imagine calling an iPhone by another name!?