Feb, 06 2013

When iPhone discovered a Brazilian electronics firm using “iphone” to brand its line of Android devices, the Cupertino company likely blew as many gaskets at one time as any company can blow. If you don’t remember, IGB Electronica has been using the “iphone” brand in the country since the year 2000, and Apple tried to retain exclusive rights to the brand when it found out. Apple built the brand into a world-renown line of smartphones, but IGB has every right to it considering the iPhone didn’t launch until 2007.

After a series of legal proceedings, Reuters has heard that the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property will finalize and confirm its decision to grant IGB Electronica exclusive rights to the name next week. These rights will last through 2018, though we’re not sure what might happen once that time comes. With that, Apple has found itself between a rock and a hard place.

Apple might not care so much if IGB were using the name for something completely unrelated to mobile, but the company has actually been using it to brand its newest line of Android smartphones. The “iphone Neo One” isn’t what we’d call a smash-mouth hit that Apple has to worry about with its 3.7-inch HVGA display, 5 megapixel camera and 2GB of internal storage, but it has to sting knowing that a phone running the operating system by a company you promised to wage thermonuclear war against will don your prestigious brand.

So what is it to do? Well, since Apple can’t bully its way to a favorable decision through the use of lawyers, I suspect IGB will walk into a nice secluded conference room with a big smile on its face as it looks to secure a blank check in settlement talks.

Apple suffered a similar situation over in China where Proview held the rights to the iPad brand, and it cost Apple about $60 million to secure that. Apple probably spends more than that on marketing in one fiscal quarter, so we’re not surprised the technology giant was willing to cough it up.

That said, the terms of that particular agreement will have no bearing on the one it will have to make with IGB, and any dollar amount could exchange hands to make sure Apple seals the deal. IGB’s chairman Eugenio Emilio Staub says his company is open for dialog regarding anything at any time, so at the very least it sounds like Apple won’t be shunned out.

[via Digital Trends, thanks Alexandre!]

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