Apple May Not Use iPhone Trademark in Brazil

The Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property (Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial) denied Apple’s application to register the iPhone trademark in Brazil because of a conflicting registration.

Apparently, Gradiente Eletronica SA registered the the iPhone trademark in 2000 for goods in Class 9, which includes mobile devices and accessories, which was seven years before Apple launched its iconic iPhone. This ruling will be officially announced on Febryary 13, after which Apple may choose to appeal the decision in Brazilian courts. As Apple’s smart phone market share in North America and Asia is rapidly slipping away, this decision may carry serious implications for the company since Brazil is the largest and fastest growing smart phone market in Latin America.

In a delicious ironic twist, the company which owns the iPhone trademark in Brazil is a manufacturer of electronic appliances – its smart phone product is called “iPhone” and uses the Android operating system.