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Apple has reportedly lost ownership of 'iPhone' trademark in Mexico [u]

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
A court in Mexico has ruled that the name iPhone is too similar phonetically to local brand iFone, and has denied Apple's appeal to cancel one of the Mexican company's trademark rights.

Mexico


Update: A report from The Verge explains that Apple has not been stripped of the "iPhone" moniker in Mexico, as the dispute pertains to a lost appeal to have iFone relinquish rights to a certain class of trademark. This article has been updated to reflect the new information.

As you'd expect, companies like Apple file to protect ultra valuable trademarks like "iPhone" in every class they can come up with an argument for, since it protects against infringement and brand dilution. That's where iFone comes in ? it has a single Mexican trademark on the word "iFone" in Class 38, which covers telecommunication services. Apple runs a few of those, like iMessage and FaceTime, and indeed, it has a Class 38 US trademark on "iPhone."

Apple already owns two iPhone trademarks in Mexico in Class 9 and Class 28, which covers electronic game devices. But in 2009, Apple's lawyers decided iFone's Mexican Class 38 mark wasn't being actively used, and they filed a lawsuit to try and get it canceled so they could register their own pending Class 38 mark on "iPhone." iFone obviously disagreed and convinced the Mexican courts that they were still using the mark in commerce, which is where today's ruling comes from ? Apple lost another round of appeals trying to cancel the iFone mark in Class 38.



The iFone trademark was registered in 2003, four years before the launch of the first iPhone, as noted by Electronista. Apple's courtroom loss actually stems from a suit filed by the company itself in 2009, in an attempt to stop the iFone brand from using its name.

Apple has tried and failed to obtain the iFone name after the first-generation iPhone debuted. After Apple's setback, iFone countersued and sought damages, though that trial is still pending.

iFone sells communications systems and services, including IP-based telephony, virtual office services, and software for switching systems.

Apple did not own the iPhone trademark when it introduced the device in 2007. Following the product's announcement, Cisco suedfor infringement, but the two companies reached a settlement a month later.

Apple also did not own the name in 2010, as Fujitsu released the first product to carry that name in 2002. Days before Apple's iPad was announced, the Cupertino, Calif., company acquired the trademark from Fujitsu.

While those matters were settled quickly, ownership of the iPad name in China proved to be a more complicated battle for Apple. After a months-long dispute, Apple finally obtained the iPad trademark from a company named Proview for $60 million this July.
post #2 of 61

And "iTelephono"?

post #3 of 61
Forget the alternate spelling. Just keep it spelled "iPhone", and change the Spanish product pronunciation to "eep-HO-neh" in Spanish.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #4 of 61
The iPhone is a misleading name. Its a phone, sure, but is that it's main function?
post #5 of 61

Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH? 

 

Seriously, who is going to confuse iFone with an iPhone? 

 

What does the ruling mean, that Apple will have to change the name of the iPhone in Mexico or something? That sounds ridiculous, and that is obviously not going to happen.

 

Screw that, Mexico is not an important country and I doubt that they are an important market for Apple, and I would suggest that Apple also pull out of Mexico. Heck, it wouldn't bother me if Apple were USA only from now on. Apple would still be a very profitable company if that were to happen, just on a smaller scale. The bigger Apple gets, the less the stock market seems to appreciate Apple. Let the foreigners all buy Android phones or Windows phones, because they wouldn't have any other choice.

post #6 of 61
Originally Posted by paxman View Post
The iPhone is a misleading name. Its a phone, sure, but is that it's main function?

 

iVrything.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH? 

The article says the issue is there's no phonetic difference, as in iFone and iPhone sound the same when you say them.

post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

And "iTelephono"?

iTelèfono

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Forget the alternate spelling. Just keep it spelled "iPhone", and change the Spanish product pronunciation to "eep-HO-neh" in Spanish.

 

eep-HO-neh?  That was funny!  Yeah!
 

post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

The article says the issue is there's no phonetic difference, as in iFone and iPhone sound the same when you say them.

I understand that, but looking at their homepage, it doesn't even look like they sell any phone, so I hardly see how the two can be confused.

 

This is one ugly looking homepage by the way.

 

http://www.ifone.com.mx/

post #11 of 61

"Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH?"

Pay attention -- that was Apple's claim when THEY initiated the lawsuit -- that the names sounded the same phonetically.

 

"Seriously, who is going to confuse iFone with an iPhone?"

No one.  That was Apple's claim when THEY initiated the lawsuit.

 

Apple tried to sue a Mexican company who trademarked the name "iFone" four years before Apple trademarked "iPhone".  This lawsuit was not originated by iFone, it was originated by Apple.  Apple lost, got counter-sued, and lost again.  Serves them right. 

post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH? 

The article says the issue is there's no phonetic difference, as in iFone and iPhone sound the same when you say them.

That's because in Spanish iPhone is pronounced as it sounds in English due to the fact that it is a brand name. This is the the case with many foreign words however in the case of iFone, if pronounced phonetically in Spanish it would not be the same at all. If it is indeed being pronounced the same as iPhone then it is also being treated as an English brand name.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #13 of 61

"Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH?"

Pay attention -- that was Apple's claim when THEY initiated the lawsuit -- that the names sounded the same phonetically.

 

"Seriously, who is going to confuse iFone with an iPhone?"

No one.  That was Apple's claim when THEY initiated the lawsuit.

 

Apple tried to sue a Mexican company who trademarked the name "iFone" four years before Apple trademarked "iPhone".  This lawsuit was not originated by iFone, it was originated by Apple.  Apple lost, got counter-sued, and lost again.  Serves them right. 

post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

iVrything.

I like it.  Specially for the white one.

post #15 of 61

this is nonsense!
iFone in Spanish has to be pronounced with the "e" sound at the end.

post #16 of 61

Left out of the AI article is that an injunction on sales of Apple's iPhone could be enforced, blocking it from the Mexican market according to the story. Apple has no rights to market/sell under the iPhone name in Mexico. I imagine the pressure is on Apple to come to a monetary agreement with the trademark holder sooner rather than later.

melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #17 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Left out of the AI article is that an injunction on sales of Apple's iPhone could be enforced, blocking it from the Mexican market according to the story. Apple has no rights to market/sell under the iPhone name in Mexico.

Do you know how easy it is to smuggle things into Mexico? There are no customs. You drive right in. There won't be a shortage of iPhones or machine guns.

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post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Do you know how easy it is to smuggle things into Mexico? 

..and out of Mexico.

melior diabolus quem scies
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post #19 of 61
Kind of Apple's fault for not getting the name ahead of time. They are working, theoretically , on these products years in advance. Lots of time to get the name.
However, I think that it should only matter if the name of a product is within the same group of products. If a company is named "iPhone" it shouldn't matter because the Apple iPhone is a telecom product. If the products are not in the same field, it shouldn't matter. A car named "iPhone" should be permitted as it doesn't conflict with sales of the Apple iPhone.
post #20 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Do you know how easy it is to smuggle things into Mexico? There are no customs. You drive right in. There won't be a shortage of iPhones or machine guns.

Machine guns are probably easier to get, because they get them straight from the US govt.1smoking.gif

post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Do you know how easy it is to smuggle things into Mexico? 

..and out of Mexico.

Well easy is relative. If you consider that Mexican drug smugglers recently decided that digging a tunnel for a half mile under the border was the easiest way to get into the US then I guess everything is easy. 

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post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Do you know how easy it is to smuggle things into Mexico? There are no customs. You drive right in. There won't be a shortage of iPhones or machine guns.

Machine guns are probably easier to get, because they get them straight from the US govt.1smoking.gif

To be fair they had to buy them from  licensed gun dealers. The Feds just didn't stop them.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

The iPhone is a misleading name. It's a phone, sure...

 

You rest your case.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #24 of 61
HaHa, apple ain't the power that they thought they were since Jobs died!
post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Well easy is relative....

I had no idea you'd met my sister-in-law. Do I need to apologize for her actions?

melior diabolus quem scies
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post #26 of 61
To all--

Mexico is a horribly corrupt nation. Judges are outright bought. Those who can't be bought, are often murdered. You don't read about this in the U.S., because our government likes to keep Mexico 'in our pocket' so to speak - meaning on the so-called 'War on Drugs'.

In terms of who is purchasing 'justice' in Mexico, it's everyone from the economic elites, huge landowners, and industries, to the drug cartels.

I wouldn't be surprised if the underlying motivation for this trademark judgement (other than MONEY) is 'revenge' on Apple for building large manufacturing facilities in Brazil. What's built in Brazil will provide product throughout Latin America. I bet that the Mexican business interests who would have benefited from this business in Mexico are well beyond peeved about Apple's selection of Brazil for this expansion.
post #27 of 61

in Spanish, "iFone" should be pronounced "ee-fone"

post #28 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

The iPhone is a misleading name. Its a phone, sure, but is that it's main function?

 

You want to open that can of worms? Why am I browsing applications, updating OS software, and renting movies from this thing called iTUNES?!

I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist, with experience.
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post #29 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

 

You want to open that can of worms? Why am I browsing applications, updating OS software, and renting movies from this thing called iTUNES?!

iMuch? iVrything, iMuch and the iMuch Store?

post #30 of 61

I don't see the big deal here.  Apple products have long ago reached that point wherein if they aren't officially available in a particular country, the only effect is that they arrive in said country later than in the "official" countries.  If all Apple sales were forbidden in Mexico it would make probably zero difference both to their bottom line, and to sales volumes.  

post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

To be fair they had to buy them from  licensed gun dealers. The Feds just didn't stop them.

 

Yes, but in the USA the very term "licensed gun dealer" is a bit of a joke in that any yokel selling machine guns out of the trunk of their car in a parking lot is technically a "licensed gun dealer" down there. :)

post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH? 

 

Seriously, who is going to confuse iFone with an iPhone? 

 

What does the ruling mean, that Apple will have to change the name of the iPhone in Mexico or something? That sounds ridiculous, and that is obviously not going to happen.

 

Screw that, Mexico is not an important country and I doubt that they are an important market for Apple, and I would suggest that Apple also pull out of Mexico. Heck, it wouldn't bother me if Apple were USA only from now on. Apple would still be a very profitable company if that were to happen, just on a smaller scale. The bigger Apple gets, the less the stock market seems to appreciate Apple. Let the foreigners all buy Android phones or Windows phones, because they wouldn't have any other choice.

What a dumb commentary...  and lack of consideration for other users outside the United States.

post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

To be fair they had to buy them from  licensed gun dealers. The Feds just didn't stop them.

To be fair they did not get those machine guns from licensed gun dealers considering machine gun production for civilian population ended in 1986.  If they got machine guns they got them directly from the US government.  If you are talking about Semi-automatic firearms which are not machine guns that is a different story.

post #34 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by brulltyme View Post

To all--
Mexico is a horribly corrupt nation. Judges are outright bought. Those who can't be bought, are often murdered. You don't read about this in the U.S., because our government likes to keep Mexico 'in our pocket' so to speak - meaning on the so-called 'War on Drugs'.

 

If Mexico, as well as countries in Central and South America, were smart, they'd just pull out of the "War on Drugs", since all it's accomplished is to turn their countries into war zones, and isn't worth the "aid" they get for being a part of it. You'd have thought we'd have learned our lesson with Prohibition, when all that did was line the pockets of organized crime. Now we have the whole prison industry to support as well.

post #35 of 61
Just remove the name. People know what it is.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Delgado View Post

"Mexican people don't know the difference between an "F" and a "PH?"

Pay attention -- that was Apple's claim when THEY initiated the lawsuit -- that the names sounded the same phonetically.

 

"Seriously, who is going to confuse iFone with an iPhone?"

No one.  That was Apple's claim when THEY initiated the lawsuit.

 

Apple tried to sue a Mexican company who trademarked the name "iFone" four years before Apple trademarked "iPhone".  This lawsuit was not originated by iFone, it was originated by Apple.  Apple lost, got counter-sued, and lost again.  Serves them right. 

 

Congratulations. You just made it to my Troll List.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

iMuch? iVrything, iMuch and the iMuch Store?

Then Much Music would have a field day with them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Just remove the name. People know what it is.

Or call it (Apple)Phone - unfortunately this Windows computer can't type the right character...

 

Then Siri can make a joke about how when you pronounce it, it's supposed to have more cow bell. I mean, dimensions.

post #38 of 61

The rest of the world would like to tell you "go f** yourself".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post Heck, it wouldn't bother me if Apple were USA only from now on.

Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

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Social Capitalist, dreamer and wise enough to know I'm never going to grow up anyway... so not trying anymore.

 

http://m.ign.com/articles/2014/07/16/7-high-school-girls-are-kickstarting-their-awa...

Reply
post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

... Heck, it wouldn't bother me if Apple were USA only from now on. Apple would still be a very profitable company if that were to happen, just on a smaller scale. The bigger Apple gets, the less the stock market seems to appreciate Apple. Let the foreigners all buy Android phones or Windows phones, because they wouldn't have any other choice.

I doubt Apple will be profitable if it becomes an USA only company.  Who in the US is going to buy a $1500 iphone made in USA?  Very few...

post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by True View Post

What a dumb commentary...  and lack of consideration for other users outside the United States.

Yes, I'm selfish, I know. That isn't a crime last I checked.lol.gif

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