Brazilian Supreme Court to Determine If Apple Can Continue to Use 'iPhone' Trademark in Brazil

Apple is facing a trademark battle in Brazil as the Brazilian Supreme Court is set to determine whether Apple is allowed to use the iPhone trademark in Brazil.

gradiente iphone white
The Brazilian Supreme Court will rule on the issue following a constitutional appeal by IGB Electronica, an electronics company that registered the ‌iPhone‌ trademark in Brazil in 2000.

Under the name Gradiente, IGB Electronica produced a line of IPHONE-branded Android smartphones in Brazil in 2012, and there was a period of time where the Brazilian company was given exclusive rights to the ‌iPhone‌ trademark.

There was a trademark battle and ultimately, Apple and IGB Electronica were both provided rights to use the name in the country. Since then, there's been continual back and forth fighting with each company attempting to gain exclusive rights to the trademark, but a 2018 decision upheld a 2013 ruling that gave both brands permission to use the trademark.

Earlier this year, IGB Electronica revived the dispute in an attempt to get the 2018 decision reversed by Brazil's Supreme Federal Court, and the court has agreed to hear the case. IGB argues that allowing Apple to use the trademark first filed by IGB "punishes creativity."

"Allowing a company to claim a trademark submitted in good faith by another one punishes creativity, distorts free competition and runs over Brazilian intellectual property authorities," says IGB's lawyer Igor Mauler Santiago in the petition. He also alleges the violation of free initiative and of trademarks protection, principles expressly prescribed in the Brazilian Constitution.

Apple has claimed that it was inappropriate for the National Institute of Industrial Property to grant the trademark to Gradiente in 2008 even though it was filed in 2000 because at that point, the ‌iPhone‌ existed.

It's not yet clear when the Brazilian Supreme Court will hear the case and come to a decision. IGB has been struggling for years and has lost close to 1 billion Brazilian Reals since 2018, so the ultimate goal may be a payout from Apple to end the dispute. Today's press release announcing the court's decision highlights commercial deals Apple has made in other countries to acquire rights to the ‌iPhone‌ trademark.

Apple's Brazilian dispute comes just after news that Apple has opposed the trademark application for Prepear, a recipe and meal planning app that uses a pear for an Apple logo. Apple fears people who encounter the pear logo will associate it with Apple.

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Top Rated Comments

GeoStructural Avatar
51 months ago

I don’t know how many phones Apple sells in Brazil, but I bet the Apple Phone would sell just as well.

Let the morons have their iPhone trademark (obviously filed because of Apple’s popular iMac product line debuted in 1998).
How can you know for sure they had those intentions? This company was founded in the 60s, and its origin can be traced about 20 years before Apple even existed. They were also producing electronics when Steve Jobs was still in basic school.

They registered the brand name iPhone in 2000, 7 years before Apple released their product and they have been in the business ever since, not your average company troll.

When you say “obviously” and “popular” it is as baseless, just your conjecture. Macs are still not that prominent in Latin America, and 22 years ago in 1998 they had penetrated the market even less, Windows was (still is) king back then in Latin America.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Eriamjh1138@DAN Avatar
51 months ago
I don’t know how many phones Apple sells in Brazil, but I bet the Apple Phone would sell just as well.

Let the morons have their iPhone trademark (obviously filed because of Apple’s popular iMac product line debuted in 1998).
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
5105973 Avatar
51 months ago
Lol....well this is kind of amusing after reading Apple suing some little 5 person outfit over a pear logo that looks like a pear and only a pear.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SigEp265 Avatar
51 months ago
They should just pay IGB Electronica for the trademark. It's not like they can't afford it. And I'm betting IGB Electronica wouldn't mind a huge sum of money.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dwaltwhit Avatar
51 months ago
Yea it seems like it wouldn’t be toooo bad to brand it as ? phone in one country. I remember hearing of a pizza place in canada having copywrited the phrase “pizza pizza” so Little caesars in that region had to switch to “pizza 2 times!”
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Altivec88 Avatar
51 months ago

I don’t know how many phones Apple sells in Brazil, but I bet the Apple Phone would sell just as well.

Let the morons have their iPhone trademark (obviously filed because of Apple’s popular iMac product line debuted in 1998).
Yah, it all depends on the amount of sales. I'm sure it wouldn't be cheap to rebrand and produce a product for one specific country. Manufacturing, branding, OS, documentation, web presence, advertising, etc all have to be specialized. It might not be worth it and be cheaper to just pull out of Brazil.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)