Brazilian electronics maker IGB Eletronica, known by its brand name Gradiente, launched a smartphone called the ‘iPhone Neo One’. The move came less than a week after Apple launched its new iPhone 5 in Brazil.
The Brazilian company uses the iPhone name because it applied for the trademark in Brazil in 2000, more than six years before Apple announced its device, The WSJ reports. In releasing its phone, Gradiente also suggested it might go after Apple for copyright infringement. The Brazilian company said in a statement it would take "all the measures used by companies around the world" to preserve its intellectual property rights.
"The two brands can't coexist in the market," said Eugenio Staub president of Gradiente. "It's up to Apple to make a move", he added.
Apple tried to register the iPhone trademark in Brazil in 2006, but Brazil's National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) will likely reject the request, said Silvia Rodrigues, interim director of the brands department at INPI. "For telephones, the brand doesn't belong to Apple. It belongs to Gradiente," said Rodrigues. "Gradiente has the right to defend its brand," Rodrigues added. She added, however, that the agency's opinion was limited to intellectual-property law and that Brazilian courts could take other factors into account in a legal dispute.
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