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Apple loses iPhone trademark case in Brazil

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Apple (famous for making the Newton PDA, among other things) has lost its bid for the exclusive rights to the name iPhone in Brazil.

According to the BBC, the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) has ruled that Apple can not force local company Gradiente Eletronica to stop using the name iPhone for its products.

Apple has appealed the INPI's ruling and is currently under no order to stop using the name iPhone. Gradiente has the right to sue Apple over the trademark but hasn't made it known if that course of action is in the cards.

Gradiente trademarked the iPhone name in 2000 and currently owns the full rights to the title in Brazil.

Apple was arguing that it should be awarded the name because the local firm did nothing with the label when the suit was created. To circumvent Apple's complaint the local Brazilian firm released its own iPhone last December.

The G iPhone sports a 5MP camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and runs Android Ginger Bread. Compare those specs to Apple's "iPhone" (which we'll refer to as the Newton 5 for legal purposes) and its clear that Gradiente's iPhone has some catching up to do.

Of course, to be fair, the Newton 5 had five generations to get it right. Gradiente's iPhone is just a first generation device. At least give it three iterations before you start clamoring for Android Jelly Bean.

For Gradiente, it makes sense to piggyback on the iPhone brand for as long as they can. Until the smoke clears, perhaps Apple should take our advice and make the Newton 5 the official name of the iPhone 5 in South America.

On a side note, Samsung executives must be laughing to themselves right now.

14 Feb 2013

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