Apple can’t use lawyers to stop launch of Android-based “iphone” in Brazil


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!]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. The default ring tone is Apple’s teeth grinding.

    1. ….—-goo.gl/M9BvW (Home more information)

  2. That there is funny, don’t care who you are.

  3. News just in, Apple is renaming the brand to ayePhone.

  4. Just another example of something that existed well before Apple decided to call it it’s own, and claim that they created it.
    I know this company will just sell its rights to Apple, and I don’t blame them, really. And I know those rights don’t apply worldwide. But wouldn’t it be nice to see Apple have their asses handed to them and have the iphone name taken away? How awesome would that be?

    1. Apple bought the iPhone name from Linksys, who had a voip phone out before Apple.

      1. we still have this og iphone used for skype!

      2. Bought?

        It was registered in 1996 by Infogear.

        Linksys bought infogear and TM “iphone”.

        Apple registered a domain name iphone.org in 1999, when US “iphone” TM was Linksys’ USPTO IP.

        Then ugly Apple started to register “iphone” TM outside of the US.

        Then Apple has stolen award-winning LG Prada 2006 and launched iphone 2007.

        Apple showed QWERTY smartphones instead of LG Prada, SAMSUNG F800 and HTC Touch during that presentation.

        Then Cisco filed a lawsuit.

        Then Apple signed an agreement, both Cisco and Apple CAN USE “iphone” name.;)

  5. You mean Title?

    EDIT. Love being downvoted for pointing out the spelling error, in a comment disparaging Phandroid, for mispelling their title. Its since been fixed and the author removed his comment. Lulz. I has them.

  6. Itd be great if google bought the iphone name from IGB, and then sue apple for using it.

    1. That would be awesome!

    2. YES +1
      but Google is not based on a rotten base (fruit)…..he will never do that
      and because of that Google will slowly win anything…..hope Google will not change or I will hate him :)

    3. Great idea… or even Samsung as they are always having fun in the court the Apple.

  7. O I luv it, the apple got a taste of a crab apple, good, I hope they seek 100 mil a year till 2018, sorry ass Co.now they they eat shtt

  8. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! In your face, Apple!

  9. I feel kind of bad for Apple this time…

    1. Because you’re a moron.

      1. I was joking. Sorry about that. I meant it in a sarcastic-ish way.

  10. “These rights will last through 2018” IGB better to hurry to extract a few hundred $ from Apple ASAP. By 2018 Apple will be out of the mobile market. By this time, Apple will probably change to houseware business and make a toilet seat named iSh!t. You better trademark this name now to screw Apple again another time.

    1. What about the iPoo?

      1. iCrap?

    2. Personally, iStillwouldntbuyit.

  11. I want one of those phones just to say I have it!

  12. NICE!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!! IN YOUR FACE APPLE!!!!!

  13. Everyone needs to call Apple support and start complaining about their “iPhone” Why they can access the app store etc.

    1. “Why is my wallpaper moving?!”
      “How come I can drag and drop files so easily??”
      “Why do I have all these choices and freedom??”

  14. Apple should do a better job investigating trademarks before the marketing peoole launch a product.

    got a real good laugh over the Apple toilet idea – iSh!t.

  15. Now that phone i will buy

  16. Iphone stands for midrange phone, who would even want to use it!?

  17. Brazilian company should sue Apple and force them to stop selling iphones. After all Apple has stolen their brand name. Knowing how Apple is aggressive in trying to force competition to stop sales and come up with billions in compensations for supposed violations of Apple’s patents it would only be appropriate to get Apple to pay a few billions for the name at minimum.

  18. this must be a mistake.
    apple do not steal ideas from anyone,
    they couldnt do something like that,
    they are always going on at others for copying their ideas…
    so of course they wouldnt do it themselves.
    what the hell are you thinking?

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