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Apple wins right to use iPhone name in Brazil

The company can now share the name in Brazil with IGB Electronica, which wanted to retain exclusive rights.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
An iPhone is still an iPhone in Brazil.
An iPhone is still an iPhone in Brazil. CNET

The iPhone can now legally be known as the iPhone in Brazil following a court ruling.

On Tuesday, Judge Eduardo de Brito Fernandes ruled against Brazil's IGB Electronica in retaining exclusive rights to use the iPhone name. IGB Electronica had argued that it owned the name based on a trademark

filing for its Android smartphone known as a "Gradiente iphone." The trademark was filed in 2000, several years ahead of the first iPhone, but not granted until 2008, according to BNAmericas.

IGB released the Gradient phone in December 2012, just a month before the trademark was due to expire. Brazil's Institute of Industry Property (INPI) took IGB's side, finding that Apple had no right to use the iPhone name in the country. Apple then appealed that decision.

In his ruling, Fernandes called Apple's iPhone "world renowned," the AFP reported Wednesday. The judge said that giving the Gradiente phone exclusive rights to the name wouldn't be fair to Apple since "all the (Apple) product's renown and client following have been built on its performance and excellence as a product."

The judge also said that Gradiente's name just used a combination of "internet" and "phone" as a way to brand a mobile phone with Internet access, BNAmericas said. Apple already had an extensive "i" product line registered in several countries, according to the judge.

As a result of the ruling, Apple and IGB must now share the iPhone name in Brazil. But IGB isn't giving up so easily. The company said it would appeal the decision, BNAmericas added.