On Wednesday, we told you that the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property had ruled in favor of local manufacturer Gradiente
in awarding the company the iPhone trademark in the country. Gradiente had filed for the trademark in 2000, before the device was a gleam in Steve Jobs' eyes. The company was actually awarded approval to use the name in 2008. Since Brazilian law requires the company to have used the trade mark sometime within the first five years after approval, all Apple has to do is show that Gradiente never used the iPhone name
by January 2013.
The problem is that the Gradiente iphone Neo One, an Android powered handset offered in Brazil had launched in December which would apparently constitute proof that Gradiente developed the iPhone brand within the five years mandated by Brazilian laws. The phone is actually produced by IGB Eletronica SA, a firm that was born out of the restructuring of Gradiente last year.
Apple could still go back to court to appeal the decision, or could try to work out a licensing deal, which seems likely. Last year, Apple had to pay $60 million to Chinese company Proview
for the iPad name in China. It turned out that a prior deal that Apple had made with the company had covered Taiwan only and not mainland China. Since Brazil is the largest market in Latin America, the company should be prepared to pay up for the iPhone name in Brazil.