Brazil rules against use of iPhone brand, trademark owner to sell rights to Apple

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Sao Paulo, Brazil (4E) – Brazil’s patent authority ruled Tuesday that Apple cannot use its iPhone brand in the country as a local electronics company owns exclusive rights to the name for mobile phones. But Gradiente Eletronica SA, which registered the name in Brazil in 2000 or seven years before Apple launched its popular smartphone, is willing to sell the rights to the name.

The country’s National Industrial Property Institute awarded Gradiente the rights to the name in 2008 or a year after Apple applied to use the name in Brazil. But Gradiente was only able to start selling its own smartphone called IPHONE in December.

Gradiente Chairman and owner Eugenio Emilio Staub said Tuesday he is open to dialogue with Apple, according to Bloomberg.

The institute said it will publish its ruling on the trademark dispute on its magazine on Feb. 13.

A settlement between Apple and Gradiente is not far-fetched as the iPhone maker have done it in the past. In February 2007, Apple acquired the rights to the iPhone name in the U.S. from Cisco Systems through a non-financial settlement. Cisco acquired the trademark in 2000 from California consumer device startup Infogear, which registered the iPhone name in 1996.

In July, Apple settled a trademark dispute with Chinese firm Proview over the use of the iPad name in China for $60 million.

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