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Firm Owning 'IPHONE' Trademark in Brazil Open to Selling Mark to Apple

Brazilian electronics maker IGB Electronica SA, which owns the trademark to 'IPHONE' in Brazil, has said it is willing to discuss selling the trademark to Apple following the launch of a line of Android phones bearing the 'IPHONE' mark in that country.

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Bloomberg reports:
The owner of the iPhone trademark in Brazil, IGB Eletronica SA, said it would consider selling the naming rights to Apple Inc.

“We’re open to a dialogue for anything, anytime,” said Eugenio Emilio Staub, chairman of IGB, in an interview in Sao Paulo. “We’re not radicals.”
Brazil's Institute for Industrial Property confirmed this week that IGB has exclusive rights to the 'iphone' mark as it relates to mobile phones. Apple had requested exclusive use of the word in 2006, but the request was not granted because IGB's trademark dated back to 2000.

Apple has sold the iPhone in Brazil for several years, but with this ruling it appears Apple will need to negotiate with IGB for the right to use the 'iPhone' mark. A similar situation occurred in China last year. Proview Technology owned the Chinese trademark to "iPad" and eventually sold the mark to Apple for $60 million.

Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago

It's a done deal, you don't mess with Apple or it's lawyers.


Mess? They owned this trademark years before iPhone existed. How are they messing with Apple?
Rating: 52 Votes
23 months ago
Apple should just buy Brazil.
Rating: 27 Votes
23 months ago

It's a done deal, you don't mess with Apple or it's lawyers.


Not all countries are the US

In some countries you have to have RIGHT to win. Not money.
Rating: 13 Votes
23 months ago
Let them think what they want, the truth is Apple is not some white angel living in a black hellish world. They have been often sued, including for trademark infringement over the name iPhone and had to settle.

It's not always a "clear cut win" for "Apple and its lawyers".
Rating: 12 Votes
23 months ago

Apple should just buy Brazil.


They can't afford it.
Rating: 11 Votes
23 months ago

Any country that is in a big business like that can be manipulated by money. Brazil is no exception. Apple could find 100 lawyers to fight this case and it doesn't matter where it is.


I don't think paying 100 top lawyers is gonna be cheaper than paying Gradiente for a license anyway. :D

By the way, those able to read in Portuguese should check the following link:

http://www.ie.ufrj.br/desenvolvimento/pdfs/novos_espacos_de_possibilidade_para_a_inovacao_tecnologica.pdf

It's a paper analyzing the Unitron case, when a well-known Brazilian company produced a Mac clone (the "Mac 512") through perfectly-legal reverse engineering means (i.e., no Apple patent in Brazil).

However, strong pressure from the US government + corporate lobbying from competing companies in Brazil made the military government backtrack from its original decision to allow the company to produce such clones - it's a fascinating story.

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All Apple has to do is tell Brazil they are going to stop making stuff in Brazil.

Then sit back and watch how fast Apple gets the trademark in Brazil.


What "stuff"? A few iPhones by Foxconn?

Brazil is the 5th (or 6th, depending on who you ask) largest economy in the world; the US is not even its largest trading partner anymore.

On the other hand, Brazilian tourists are the ones spending the most money of all nationalities in places like NY.

So it's more like this nowadays, given the dire state of the US economy: Brazil asks, the US concedes - not the other way round.
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago

All Apple has to do is tell Brazil they are going to stop making stuff in Brazil.

Then sit back and watch how fast Apple gets the trademark in Brazil.


Man if I had a nickel for every time someone made this similar ignorant comment in this forum - I would be rich indeed.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago
They’ll probably make more money selling the name to Apple than they would selling those... Things...
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago

Cash grab. If this is legit, I would if I could.


As a Brazilian, I can assure that it's more than legit - the Brazilian IP Institute has already confirmed the validity of the mark, which was the correct assessment based on date of registration and use.

And no, Gradiente is not just an IP troll - they have been in business for more than 30 years now, and used to produce some really good higher-end audio systems.

They probably seized the opportunity with the "iTrend" back then and are able to cash in now...nothing surprising.

In summary, Apple has only two choices: pay up or get out. It's as simple as that.

p.s.: To the geographically-challenged out there: remember that Brazil is not China as far as IP protection is concerned.

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They can't afford it.


Indeed...the UK is cheaper, for instance - with far worse weather and women, of course.
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago

Nothing new here.
Gradiente was after easy money anyway. They are a dying company and was never planning to make a phone in the first place.


Gradiente is not a dying company, they make good products. And they owned the name iPhone long before Apple.
Rating: 8 Votes

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