A few days ago we told you that the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) will rule against Apple in an iPhone-related trademark case in the country, and it looks like the ruling is now official.
The Brazilian IPHONE – a trademark registered in 2000 by IGB Eletronica SA and awarded in 2008 to the company – is the victor, with INPI denying Apple’s request to register the iPhone name in the region.
Obviously Apple is appealing the decision, arguing that the Brazilian Android maker has failed to produce any hardware under the IPHONE brand – according to local law, a company has five years to make use of any awarded trademark.
IGB only announced an IPHONE smartphone (the Neo One, which we talked about a few months ago) in late December 2012, “weeks before the deadline,” with the handset being available in Brazil only from the maker’s website and from one other location, a shipping center in Sao Paulo, according to the Wall Street Journal.
What will happen next? INPI will evaluate Apple’s objection in the following 60 days and issue another ruling.
Should IGB win again, Apple may be in for another trademark-based lawsuit that will most likely result in the iPhone maker paying a few millions to the IPHONE trademark holder in Brazil. It’s nothing new really, as we’ve seen this same scenario happen in China recently, with a local company being paid $60 million for the iPad name.