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Apple Acquitted in Mexican 'iPhone' Naming Lawsuit

The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) has resolved the dispute between Apple and Mexican telecommunications company iFone over the rights to the phonetic name "iPhone", acquitting Apple of any wrongdoing, reports El Universal [Google Translate].

ifone_5
The IMPI found that the "iPhone" trademark can only be infringed by iFone's fellow telecommunications companies. Because Apple is a hardware company and does not own a wireless network, it is not technically infringing the trademark.

Instead, the IMPI will fine Mexican telecommunications companies Telcel, Iusacell and Movistar and require them to remove "iPhone" advertising and branding from its stores within 15 days. Apple will still be allowed to sell iPhones, however.

Apple has been fighting this case since 2009, losing the court case in November 2012 and then losing an appeal in March 2013.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 15 weeks ago

Apple did the right thing here. I'm proud of them for fighting the good fight even in Mexico.



Dude I too love Apple but I'm not that blind, how's trying to screw a company, (which operates 5 years before even the first iPhone )to avoid paying royalties a good fight?.
Just because they are launching a product doesn't mean we all how to bow to them, in the end they lost more than they can chew.

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They started it in the first place, this little company didn't even want to go to the courts, they offered them to pay a small amount for royalties.

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U.S media outlets are making a big deal out of it, and the reality is that all carriers in mexico make their ads without the word iPhone on them just the device with the Apple logo. people aren't stupid

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Are you sure?, every time I go to the mall or one of those carrier stores, you definitely see a gigantic poster of the iPhone, with of course the phone, logo AND a big iPhone word.


You are wrong there is an apple store in mexico called the apple online store www.apple.com.mx

and the unofficial stores you mention are about as official as they get because they are premium resellers, they operate under third parties but have every apple permission to sell their products. and there are countless outlets where the product is sold, best buy, premium reseller retailers, carriers etc. this is nothing[COLOR="#808080"]

Be realistic, these iShop stores and the official Apple website only offer the unlocked model which here in Mexico cost a fortune to pay upfront, I'm sure at least 90% of the population get the iPhone through carriers, so how's that not going to hurt them?

Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 15 weeks ago
U.S media outlets are making a big deal out of it, and the reality is that all carriers in mexico make their ads without the word iPhone on them just the device with the Apple logo. people aren't stupid

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Karma, right there!, Apple sued first a little company and end up loosing big time, iPhone market here is pretty decent and not being able to promote it through third party channels which is about the only option cause there are no official Apple Store's around is going to make some damage.


You are wrong there is an apple store in mexico called the apple online store www.apple.com.mx

and the unofficial stores you mention are about as official as they get because they are premium resellers, they operate under third parties but have every apple permission to sell their products. and there are countless outlets where the product is sold, best buy, premium reseller retailers, carriers etc. this is nothing

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No, it is not. It is a massive protection against trademark trolls. In Mexico you have to prove that you are actively using a name and the trademark will only be granted in the segments where it is relevant to your usage.

Those guys had a company running under that name 5 years before the first iPhone.

Apple tried to fill a trademark for that segment, which was rejected. They sued the iFone trademark holders and lost.

If anyones is Apple's fault, for thinking the world works just as the US. I'm pretty sure in the US they would be able to get the trademark easily, thanks in part to lobbying, and for the bad reputation of patent/trademark trolls. Not in Mexico tho, there aren't as many, and trademarks usually are hold by their lawful owners and operators.

Why would anyone hold a name such as iFone is anyones guess. It doesn't mean a thing in spanish, nor in english. But the law is the law, and everyone has to abide to it... yes.... even in Mexico.


EDIT: The company seems to sell software for call centers. Make sense since Phone is phonetically identical to Fone in spanish.


wrong!

fone isn't the same as phone phonetically. in Spanish it should be pronounced PHO-NEH. but we are so accustomed to english pronunciation because of our influence by the gringos that we inadvertently pronounce the same as iPhone. for example people in Spain say e-pohd (for the iPod) we say iPod just as in an english speaker. someone should take a note of this because if you can prove it doesn't sound the same phonetically the trademark can pass and it seems someone isn't doing their job properly.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 15 weeks ago

Competitors can't advertise the same third party product due to a trademark? That is one messed up legal system.


No, it is not. It is a massive protection against trademark trolls. In Mexico you have to prove that you are actively using a name and the trademark will only be granted in the segments where it is relevant to your usage.

Those guys had a company running under that name 5 years before the first iPhone.

Apple tried to fill a trademark for that segment, which was rejected. They sued the iFone trademark holders and lost.

If anyones is Apple's fault, for thinking the world works just as the US. I'm pretty sure in the US they would be able to get the trademark easily, thanks in part to lobbying, and for the bad reputation of patent/trademark trolls. Not in Mexico tho, there aren't as many, and trademarks usually are hold by their lawful owners and operators.

Why would anyone hold a name such as iFone is anyones guess. It doesn't mean a thing in spanish, nor in english. But the law is the law, and everyone has to abide to it... yes.... even in Mexico.


EDIT: The company seems to sell software for call centers. Make sense since Phone is phonetically identical to Fone in spanish.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 14 weeks ago
This is where I feel like Apple is being a douche but the courts surely should rules they aren't spelled the same and aren't in the same business so everyone gets to just operate as normal. It doesn't make sense that anyone is in the wrong here. I'm sure the ifone brand will die over time as the company realises it's easier to call themselves something else than deal with the confusion.

If it was spelt the same It would be totally different and Apple would not have a leg to stand on.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 14 weeks ago

That means, if you're in Mexico, you can use Cixco, Mycrosoft or Inn-tel names for your electronic insurance plans because Cisco, Microsoft or Intel doesn't have that line of business. Why bother to figure out a name for your company while you can just use someone else's famous name out there and tweak a bit to make it different but sound the same. Mex IP agency is a corrupt group.

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Dude I too love Apple but I'm not that blind, how's trying to screw a company, (which operates 5 years before even the first iPhone )to avoid paying royalties a good fight?.

Just because they are launching a product doesn't mean we all how to bow to them, in the end they lost more than they can chew.



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They started it in the first place, this little company didn't even want to go to the courts, they offered them to pay a small amount for royalties.



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I'm telling you this: for a country like Mexico, China or somewhere in Africa, Trade Mark is BS where you can just backdate your registration by bribing officials...sure it's so valid in those countries that you can even get a college degree without going to school at all.



Sure enough, but at least for one time and in the case of Apple, justice was served as the law implies, these ppl seriously worship Apple like there's no tomorrow, as like Apple will save your life, sorry to tell you pal but Apple only cares about your money
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 14 weeks ago

Yep, there were plenty of "i" names back when the internet was just getting popular. Apple didn't invent the idea... they just used it like everyone else. In fact, they were rather late to making something with an "i" name.

The popularity of "i" is why Apple's ad agency talked Steve Jobs into using "iMac" instead of the name he wanted to use (the "MacMan"... a horrible ripoff of the Sony Walkman and PacMan.)

A while back, I spent a morning at the USPTO and compiled an internet / interactive i-trademark and i-name list. It's easy to see that Apple was just following a popular trend.

Red = Apple trademark, Blue = a name or trademark later used by Apple.

1987 - iNet (online storage)

1992 - iScreen (online computer manuals)

1993 - iTV (interactive TV)
1993 - ICONNECT (internet professionals)

1994 - iPod chair (internet equipped pod chair - Australia)
1994 - iBank (remote banking comms)

1995 - iCOMM (internet comms)
1995 - IMall (internet business)
1995 - iNET (internet comms)
1995 - ishop (internet store software)
1995 - IStore (internet shopping)
1995 - iRock (internet music radio)
1995 - I-SITE (internet comms)
1995 - I-FAX (internet to fax)
1995 - I-Central (internet consulting)
1995 - iFind (MCI directory)
1995 - IVIEW (interactive USAF viewer)
1995 - ICast (internet broadcasts)
1995 - iCity (internet hosting)

1996 - iHome (intelligent/interactive home)
1996 - iMessage (internet mail)
1996 - iRadio (interactive internet radio)
1996 - iBox (internet computer for home)
1996 - IBrowse (internet browser for Amiga)
1996 - i-Remote (internet TV remote control)
1996 - iBooks (interactive books)
1996 - iGames (internet gambling)
1996 - iMonitor (integrated systems monitor)
1996 - iKiosk (internet printer)
1996 - iName (internet addresses)
1996 - iPrint (internet printing)
1996 - iPhoto (internet printing)
1996 - iCall (internet comms)
1996 - iQuest (QWEST internet)
1996 - i-Page (paging handsets from internet)
1996 - iTel (internet media transfer)
1996 - I800 (internet directory)
1996 - I.CHALLENGE (internet gaming)

1997 - IMail (Internet Explorer Mail)
1997 - iWORLD (internet community)
1997 - iPoint (embedded Internet APIs)
1997 - iPump (internet reference design)
1997 - iMeter (internet meter reader)
1997 - I Antiques & I Collectibles
1997 - i-MAGIC (interactive learning)
1997 - iCube (internet kiosk)
1997 - IPostOffice
1997 - iRenaissance (internet software)
1997 - iCommunity (internet BBS)
1997 - iMatch (internet dating)
1997 - INote (internet note taker)
1997 - Iplay (internet games)
1997 - iPhone (internet phone)
1997 - IPAD (Internet Protocol ADapter box)
1997 - IPad (interactive notepad - Cross pens)


1998 - iMagic (interactive ad company)
1998 - iTourist (interactive ads)
1998 - iGovernment (info)
1998 - itravel (internet travel agency)
1998 - INews (internet news)
1998 - IView (interent adapter)
1998 - iAPP (internet job applications)
1998 - iAnnounce (internet announcements)
1998 - iInvite (internet invitations)
1998 - iNote (internet sticky notes)
1998 - iMac by Apple
1998 - imouse (interactive mouse)

1999 - idesk (internet management)
1999 - iform (internet data)
1999 - iTerm (internet web terminal)
1999 - i-Opener (internet web computer)
1999 - IPOD (internet protocol converter)
1999 - iNews24 (internet News site)
1999 - iCatalog (internet catalog)
1999 - iTours (internet tour booking)
1999 - iBook by Apple
1999 - iFrame (internet photo network)

2000 - ICard (internet bank card services)
2000 - iDirect (internet direct satellite link)
2000 - iVacation (internet home rentals)
2000 - iRad (internet radio)
2000 - iPAQ (internet computer)
2000 - iPod (internet kiosk - NJ company)

2001 - iTunes by Apple
2001 - iPod by Apple


AND my favorite preApple i-Trademark of them all...
A product that used ONLY the lowercase letter "i"...

Attachment 475841



Oh wow, I had no idea. Very cool info. I was mostly going on the explosion that seemed to happen with the iStuff in 3rd party products around the turn of the century, but man on man, I didn't realize it went back that far. Great info, thanks for posting!
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 14 weeks ago
Interestingly, Apple was the first to create the iSomething nomenclature with the first candy colored iMacs in 1998. I'm not a fan of big company crushing little guy, but it's pretty clear to me iFone was cribbing on the intellectual property rights of the iSomething naming system.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 14 weeks ago

Apple will find their way out of this victorious. They’ve got experience dating back to Apple Computer versus Apple Corps. (Apple versus The Beatles).


Wow! Apple = always right. Others = always wrong.
Rating: 1 Votes

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