Brazilian Smartphone Maker Announces Entire Line Of Android Powered… iPhones?!?

Brazilian Smartphone Maker Announces Entire Line Of Android Powered… iPhones?!?

When we see companies shamelessly ripping off Apple’s brand, designs and trademarks, we usually think of any number of tiny Chinese knock-off makers (or Samsung).

Now, though, the Brazilians appear to be getting in on the action, as a Brazil-based electronics maker is now planning on launching a new line of Android smartphones that they are calling IPHONES. Yes, really.

Reuters reports that Brazilian device maker IGB Electronica SA plans an entire line of Android devices, starting with the IPHONE Neo One.

The first model will be called “Neo One,” IGB said in a securities filing. The company was formed this year after the restructuring of Gradiente Eletronica SA, which had applied for exclusive rights in Brazil to register its products under the name IPHONE in 2000.

The filing said Gradiente had foreseen the revolution in the convergence of voice and data over the Internet at the time, before Apple Inc’s iPhone existed. In 2008, the company secured rights to the name from a local regulator of patents.

There’s an obvious parallel to this case in the recent trademark dispute Apple fought with Proview in China over the iPad trademark. The difference in that case, though, was that the Chinese owner of the iPad trademark didn’t actually try to sell a line of tablets called iPads, while IGB is doing exactly that: not just content to control the iPhone trademark in Brazil, they intend on competing with Apple in the smartphone market.

In China, the iPad trademark dispute was settled by paying Proview a $60 million fee for ongoing use of the name. One wonders if IGB truly intends on releasing an Android series of iPhones, or if they’re simply holding out for a cash payment.

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  • Robert X

    Will be interesting to see if they are stopped.

  • extra_medium

    Will be interesting to see if they are stopped.

    They own the trademark in Brazil and they are a Brazilian company. Who’s going to stop them?

  • lowtolerance
    Will be interesting to see if they are stopped.

    I don’t know how trademark law works in Brazil, but in the US, failure to use and protect a registered trademark can result is losing the rights to said trademark. Let’s pretend a US-based company trademarked the “iPhone” name 15 years ago but never released a product under that name and has made no effort to stop Apple from using that name, but suddenly decides to capitalize on it. Apple would be totally within their rights to attempt to stop them.

    Of course, it could very well be a different matter in Brazil or elsewhere.

  • SuperJunior

    Haha!

  • vgrovpro

    What a shame.
    The major shareholder of the company is Mr. Eugenio Staub. How about calling him?

  • Robert X
    Will be interesting to see if they are stopped.

    They own the trademark in Brazil and they are a Brazilian company. Who’s going to stop them?

    The courts there? Maybe? I am not saying anything will happen but something could happen.

  • bieldp
    Will be interesting to see if they are stopped.

    I don’t know how trademark law works in Brazil, but in the US, failure to use and protect a registered trademark can result is losing the rights to said trademark. Let’s pretend a US-based company trademarked the “iPhone” name 15 years ago but never released a product under that name and has made no effort to stop Apple from using that name, but suddenly decides to capitalize on it. Apple would be totally within their rights to attempt to stop them.

    Of course, it could very well be a different matter in Brazil or elsewhere.

    it’s almost the same rules apply in Brazil, a company has 5 years to use a trademark or it will be revoked.

    The name ‘aiphone’ was registered in 1987 and granted in 1991 to a chinease company that had until 1996 to use it.

    The registration of ‘iphone’ took longer because of the the pronunciation that sound alike the chinese trademark, since it never used the mark Gradiente filed out the paper work to revoke the patent from ‘aiphone’ so ‘iphone’ could be registered, the patent took until 2007 to be revoked and than in 2008 it was granted to Gradiente, also it has until 2013 to use the mark, or it could be revoked. I’m pretty sure that Apple was waiting in silence to January first of 2013 to file the paper to revoke that patent, now it can’t anymore.

    Just to clarify things, iphone was never release in Brazil, the first one to came was iphone 3G in september 2008, 8 months after the patent was granted to Gradiente

  • nepabelito

    I have a Gradiente Iphone, and it is awesome!!!

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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