Apple is set to challenge a Brazilian patent agency ruling that states that the iPhone trademark belongs to a Brazilian electronics company.
Apple now faces a major obstacle in the emerging Brazilian smart-phone market. Brazilian patent regulators announced today that Apple does not have the rights to the iPhone trademark. This means that Apple will have to fight to keep the name, a battle that they’ve fought before.
The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Brazil’s patent agency, has denied Apple’s claims to the trademark because, it says, IGB Eletrônica SA already owns the rights. IGB is better known by its brand name, Gradiente.
Gradiente filed for a Brazilian trademark on the iPhone name back in 2000, six years before Apple filed its application. Since Brazil's trademark law states that registrations work on a first-come, first-serve basis, Gradiente was definitely in line before Apple. However, Apple is challenging the decision, according to the Wall Street Journal, on the basis that Gradiente has not sufficiently used its trademark.