Gradiente Eletronica wins exclusive rights to name in South America's largest market.
As expected, Apple has officially lost the iPhone trademark in Brazil, with the company already lodging an appeal.
The Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) ruled against Apple in a lawsuit filed by Brazilian company Gradiente Eletronica. The latter released an Android-powered smartphone called the "iPHONE" in January.
Gradiente registered the name in 2000, seven years before Apple launched its flagship device. Apple has, however, retained the rights to use the name to sell merchandise such as clothing, software, and in advertising. (The ruling is limited solely to handsets.)
Apple has already filed an appeal to see the decision overruled. It argued that Gradiente hasn’t used the iPhone trademark between 2008 and early this year and has thus asked Brazilian regulators to remove the registration.
Apple will still be able to continue to sell its smartphone in Brazil for now, although it's unclear for how long. Gradiente has stated that it had secured the legal rights to the name until 2018.