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.

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Top Rated Comments

Dr McKay Avatar
148 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?
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bubba Satori Avatar
148 months ago
Apple should just buy Brazil.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleInTheMud Avatar
148 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.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KnightWRX Avatar
148 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".
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gugy Avatar
148 months ago
Apple should just buy Brazil.

They can't afford it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
50548 Avatar
148 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.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)