Apple Loses 'iPhone' Name Rights in Mexico over Phonetic Similarity [Updated]

Electronista reports that Apple has lost a court case in Mexico over the rights to the "iPhone" name in that country, with the court ruling that the name is too phonetically similar to that of telecommunications company iFone, which registered its trade name in 2003.

The decision stems from a legal action that Apple initially filed in 2009 requesting that the company cease using the iFone brand in order to head off the possibility of consumer confusion.

El Universal reports that the iFone trade name was registered in Mexico in 2003, some four years before Apple did so. Nonetheless, Apple sought unsuccessfully to gain sole control over the brand in the year after the iPhone first launched in Mexico.

Spanish news agency Efe has a bit more on the situation, quoting a lawyer for iFone as saying that this is the third time Apple has lost in this case.

ifone 5
It is unclear exactly what the next steps are for Apple and iFone, including whether additional appeals are possible. Apple is not likely to simply abandon the iPhone name in Mexico, and would thus almost certainly attempt to reach a settlement with iFone that would enable it to continue using the iPhone trade name in the country.

Update 1:21 PM: The Verge clarifies some of the confusion about the situation, noting that the court ruling has no impact on Apple's ability to sell the iPhone in Mexico and relates strictly to one trademark class.

As you'd expect, companies like Apple file to protect ultra valuable trademarks like "iPhone" in every class they can come up with an argument for, since it protects against infringement and brand dilution. That's where iFone comes in — it has a single Mexican trademark on the word "iFone" in Class 38, which covers telecommunication services. Apple runs a few of those, like iMessage and FaceTime, and indeed, it has a Class 38 US trademark on "iPhone."

Apple already owns two iPhone trademarks in Mexico in Class 9 and Class 28, which covers electronic game devices. But in 2009, Apple's lawyers decided iFone's Mexican Class 38 mark wasn't being actively used, and they filed a lawsuit to try and get it canceled so they could register their own pending Class 38 mark on "iPhone." iFone obviously disagreed and convinced the Mexican courts that they were still using the mark in commerce, which is where today's ruling comes from — Apple lost another round of appeals trying to cancel the iFone mark in Class 38.

The report goes on to note that reports of an injunction or fines against Apple are incorrect and are in fact related to what iFone is seeking in a countersuit, a suit that has yet to proceed to trial.

Top Rated Comments

Szarky Avatar
108 months ago
iCaramba!
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
grimace2 Avatar
108 months ago
Apple Started It

Apple deserved to lose... they picked this fight to begin with! The initial cease and desist lawsuit against iFone was a real scumbag move by Apple.

Reminds me of Monster Cable suing every company that used the term "Monster" for anything!

Apple is nothing more than a trademark troll, plain and simple.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deannnnn Avatar
108 months ago
Can Apple just stop suing everyone already? Jeez.
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GenesisST Avatar
108 months ago

Time to dip into the warchest and pay these fools to get over it.


"These fools"? They registered in 2003, then Apple sued in 2009 and they fought back. It doesn't seemed like they were going at Apple in the first place.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
walie Avatar
108 months ago

Yet another dumb ruling. iPhone is "different" than ifone... Duh!!

:( :( :( :(

What pool of resources are these countries getting their judges from?!?


Please comment on Apple's suit on Amazon over "App Store" vs "Appstore"
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
everything-i Avatar
108 months ago
That's crazy, you can't expect an established company to change its name just because it sounds like one of your products. This is just wrong on so many levels.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
14

Apple Releases iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 With New Camera Warnings and Bug Fixes

Tuesday January 26, 2021 10:04 am PST by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.4, the fourth major updates to the iOS 14 operating system that was initially released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.4 come more than a month after the release of iOS and iPadOS 14.3, updates that brought new emojis, Intercom support, and more. The iOS and iPadOS 14.4 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible...
7

Apple Releases watchOS 7.3 With Unity Watch Face, Expanded ECG Availability and More

Tuesday January 26, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 7.3, the third major update to the watchOS 7 operating system that was released in September. watchOS 7.3 comes more than a month after watchOS 7.2, an update that brought support for Apple Fitness+ ‌‌The watchOS 7.3 update‌‌ can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update. To install...
14

Apple Releases tvOS 14.4 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV Models

Tuesday January 26, 2021 10:02 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 14.4, the fifth update to the tvOS 14 operating system that was initially released back in September. tvOS 14.4 comes more than a month after the release of tvOS 14.3. tvOS 14.4, which is a free update, can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌Apple TV‌ by going to System > Software Update. ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ owners who have...
14

Apple Releasing iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 Later Today

Tuesday January 26, 2021 7:20 am PST by
In its Black History Month announcement this morning, Apple has confirmed that iOS 14.4 and watchOS 7.3 will be released later today. watchOS 7.3 expands the ECG app on the Apple Watch Series 4 and newer to Japan, Mayotte, Thailand, and the Philippines, while iOS 14.4 introduces a notification on iPhone 12 models with non-genuine cameras. Both software updates also add support for a new...
AirPods Pro Gen 2 Feature2

Second-Generation AirPods Pro Widely Rumored to Launch in First Half of 2021

Tuesday January 26, 2021 8:24 am PST by
Apple plans to release second-generation AirPods Pro within the first half of 2021, according to unnamed industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes in a report focused on flash memory supplier Winbond. From the report:Winbond is also expected to be among the NOR flash suppliers for Apple's next-generation AirPods Pro slated for launch later in the first half of this year, the...
apple watch black unity

Apple Celebrates Black History Month With Limited-Edition Watch, Featured Apps and Books, and More

Tuesday January 26, 2021 6:14 am PST by
Apple today announced that it will be celebrating Black History Month with curated content that highlights and amplifies Black creators, artists, developers, and businesses across the App Store, Apple Music, the Apple TV app, Apple Books, Apple Podcasts, and more. The content will be featured throughout the month of February. Black Unity Sport Band has "Truth. Power. Solidarity." ...
magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
14

iOS 14.4 Patches Vulnerabilities That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Tuesday January 26, 2021 12:16 pm PST by
Apple today released iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4, and along with a handful of minor new features, the software introduces security fixes for three vulnerabilities that may have been used in the wild. According to a security support document shared by Apple, there were kernel and WebKit vulnerabilities affecting all iPhones and iPads running iOS or iPadOS 14. The kernel vulnerability could allow ...
matte black macbook pro colorware

Apple Researching High-End Titanium MacBook Casings With Unique Textured Finish

Tuesday January 26, 2021 7:10 am PST by
Apple is researching the use of processed titanium with unique properties for future MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones, according to a newly-granted patent application. In a filing titled "Titanium parts having a blasted surface texture," granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple, Apple explains how various devices could adopt titanium casings with a...