Mexican carriers ordered to stop using the iPhone name in ads

iPhone-5-Mexico

Carriers in Mexico are no longer allowed to make use of the word “iPhone,” according to a new report from the Mexican publication El Universal. The news outlet reports that the ruling comes from the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI)and is based on the fact that the phonetically identical sounding “iFone” trademark is already owned by a small call center in Mexico. The trademark has been held since 2003 — four years before Apple released its first generation iPhone.

While Apple was acquitted as being at fault in the case, due to the fact that it is not considered a telecommunication services provider, Mexican carriers did receive blame, on the basis that they do provide such services.

This case is one that has been rumbling on since 2009, when Apple first attempted to gain control of the iFone trademark to avoid confusing consumers in Mexico. However, the lawsuit was unsuccessful, and Apple then lost an appeal in late 2012.

This time it seems like things might have come to a conclusion, as the infringing carriers — which include Telcel, Iusacell and Movistar — have been fined an undisclosed amount and ordered to remove the term “iPhone” from advertising and marketing materials within 15 days. iFone also has the option of suing the carriers for damages. While the carriers can continue to carry and sell the iPhone, they are now unable to advertise it by name. Even with Apple’s talent for advertising, that may prove a challenge too far.

We’ll keep you updated on how this story plays out.

  • Bob Level

    Show the picture of the product and Apple logo with ‘The All New Apple Phone 6′ and the people will know what they are talking about. ‘iPhone’ not needed in the ad.

  • moofer

    and their iFone came 6 years after Apple was the first company to release an iNamed product.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , |