Apple Loses iPhone Trademark Exclusivity In Brazil As Regulator Delivers Its Ruling

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Apple has officially lost exclusive rights over the use of the iPhone trademark in Brazil, according to the BBC. The news was telegraphed earlier via a leak that said Brazil’s regulatory body was planning to side with IGB Electronics S.A. in the case and revoke Apple’s exclusive ownership of the term “iPhone” as it relates to electronic devices.

The Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) explained to the BBC that its decision only applies to handset devices, and that Apple can still sell its own iPhone with that name in Brazil, unless IGB exercises its option of suing for complete, exclusive control over the trademark. Apple wanted full exclusivity, the INPI told the BBC, on the grounds that IGB had not used the trademark until December of 2012. That’s when the Brazilian company released an Android-based handset also called the iPhone.

IGB had registered the name a full seven years before Apple’s device made its first appearance, however. Apple is appealing the ruling, according to the INPI, and for got reason given the growing contribution Brazil makes to Apple’s bottom line. IGB also earlier expressed interest in the idea of selling the trademark to Apple for its exclusive use, but it looks like Apple wants to continue to explore its options through regulatory channels before sitting down at the table with the Brazilian company.