Apple is no longer the exclusive rights holder to the iPhone trademark in Brazil when applied to handset devices. That means IGB Electronics S.A. and Apple can both sell “iPhones” in the county, even though IGB’s iPhone is, in fact, an Android phone.
If you flash back a few months, you might remember IGB Electronics announcing in December that they were planning an entire line of Android devices, starting with the iPhone Neo One.
The basis on which they were doing this was that they were a company that, after restructuring, discovered they had exclusive rights in Brazil to register its products under the name IPHONE way back in 2000.
Now, it looks like the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property has sided with IGB. Apple wanted exclusivity, but instead, Brazilian officials have determined that both companies can sell their iPhones in the country… unless IGB sues for complete, exclusive control over the trademark.
Apple is obviously appealing the ruling, but my guess is this will end with a cash payout. IGB had earlier seemed open to the idea of letting Apple buy exclusivity from them, and if Cupertino runs out of options, my guess is they’ll do just that rather than let an Android-device boast the name iPhone on the open market.