GADGET DESIGNER Apple has lost the right to use the iPhone trademark in Brazil, with the name instead being retained by an Android handset.
The Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) in Brazil has ruled that the iPhone trademark does not belong to Apple in that country, and has instead upheld the trademark rights of a little known company called Gradiente Electronica, an Android handset maker.
"I can confirm that INPI published today its decisions about eight trademark applications related to iPhone, from Apple: four applications were rejected and other four were approved," the institute confirmed to the BBC.
Gradiente Electronica registered the "iPhone" name in 2000, six years before Apple. However, Gradient didn't launch an iPhone product of its own until December 2012. Because of this, Apple asked INPI to cancel Gradiente's trademark registration due to expiration, arguing that the Brazilian firm did not use the name within a five year limit.
While Apple won't be forced to stop selling its iPhone devices in Brazil, this ruling does mean that Gradiente Electronica can sue the US company for using the iPhone product name in that country.
Apple will be allowed to challenge the ruling in Brazilian courts and reportedly it plans to appeal the decision.
Apple has not yet responded to our request for comment. µ