The Brazilian Supreme Court will hear a case determining whether or not Apple can use the iPhone trademark in Brazil. The trademark was already owned by telecommunications firm IGB Eletronica.
The battle between the two companies has been going on for years. Even worse, in 2012 the Brazilian company created a lineup of Android smartphones called “iPhone.”
“Allowing a company to claim a trademark submitted in good faith by another one punishes creativity, distorts free competition and runs over Brazilian intellectual property authorities,” IGB’s lawyer Igor Mauler Santiago argues.
IGB filed its iPhone trademark back in 2000, long before Apple launched its own smartphone. The registration was ultimately granted in 2008 with retroactive effects. Apple argues that it should not have granted this trademark because there was already a competing product (Apple’s iPhone) on the world market. This is despite the fact that the trademark was filed earlier.
“To state that the circumstances of when the trademark is granted should prevail over those of when it was submitted requires the submitter to be no less than prophetical, and completely subverts the Brazilian intellectual property system”, IGB’s lawyers claim.
This is not the first time Apple has faced similar challenges. In Mexico, it had a standoff with iFone. It had another with Comware in Canada, and even one in the United States with Cisco Systems. In other cases, Apple has come to commercial agreements to acquire the iPhone brand name. It remains to be seen whether a similar thing will happen in this case.
Brazil has long been one of the priciest places to buy an iPhone. This is because the country applies a 60 percent flat import tax on most manufactured retail goods.