Apple has been denied exclusive rights to use the "iPhone" trademark in the South American country Brazil. The Brazilian regulators ruled that Apple does not have exclusive rights to use the trademark. The local company Gradiente Eletronica, had already registered the name in 2000, that's 6 years before the U.S. company. Apple risk getting sued if they continue to sell the iPhone-branded handsets in Brazil.
The Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) told the BBC that the ruling only applied to handsets. However, apple will still have exclusive rights to use the iPhone name elsewhere including on clothing, in software and across publications.
INPI spokesman Marcelo Chimento " 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 tech giant has appealed against the ruling saying Gradiente have not released any product using the iPhone name until December 2012. The California-based company is asking the INPI to cancel Gradiente's registration as the Brazilian company have not used the name within the five year limit, which is the expiration limit.
For now Apple's manufacturing partner, Foxconn, currently produces iPhones and iPads among other equipment at its facilities in Brazil.
Bloomberg previously reported that the chairman of Gradiente had said "We're open to a dialogue for anything, anytime... we're not radicals."
Will Apple be able to convince the Brazilian regulators to consider their appeal? Direct negotiations with the Brazilian firm could also be, something to consider for Apple.