Apple's Mexican 'iPhone' naming rights threatened as Supreme Court upholds 'iFone" ruling

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple's appeal to overturn a previous ruling against its sole ownership of the "iPhone" trademark in Mexico was rebuffed on Friday, with the Mexican Supreme Court saying a local tech company holds the official rights to the "iFone" name in the country.

The decision is linked to a case first started in 2009 when Apple tried to register the "iPhone" trademark in Mexico, only to be told by the Mexican Industrial Property Institute that the name was already being used by the iFone brand, reports The Wall Street Journal.

iFone


In a subsequent suit to garner the trademark, Apple argued that iFone was not making adequate use of the moniker, a requirement to keep the naming rights from expiring. The court handling the case found the iFone was indeed making good use of the name after having registered for it in 2003, some four years before the first Apple iPhone was launched.

The Supreme Court this week shot down Apple's attempt to appeal that decision, opening the door for iFone to seek its own claims for damages associated with Apple's use of "iPhone" on three Mexican cellular providers.

The Mexican court ruling is the latest setback for Apple in Latin America after the tech giant lost exclusive rights to the "iPhone" name in Brazil last month. It was recently reported, however, that an agreement with the Brazilian company currently holding the trademark, Gradiente, could soon be reached.

As noted by the WSJ, Apple's Mexican case is different as no physical product is involved. iFone is the name of a telecommunications service. The amount of damages claimed has not yet been announced, but iFone's counsel Eduardo Gallastegui said Mexican law allows for compensation of at least 40% of sales made by rights violations.

"Our main interest is to defend our brand," he said. "Apple started the controversy, their first step was to file a lawsuit, they didn't previously approach the company."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    jpvnjpvn Posts: 40member
    Just call it Hay Phone!!!
  • Reply 2 of 29
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    Offer to buy the name?  


     


    Maybe prefer to pay the cartels to handle the situation?  The cartels decide the laws in that country any way.

  • Reply 3 of 29
    old-wizold-wiz Posts: 194member


    So how much did the mexican company slip their Supreme Court for the ruling?  Do the judges get a percentage??

  • Reply 4 of 29
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,484member


    Checkbook time.

  • Reply 5 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tylerk36 wrote: »
    Offer to buy the name?  

    Maybe prefer to pay the cartels to handle the situation?  The cartels decide the laws in that country any way.

    At 40% of sales I wonder what their price will be.
  • Reply 6 of 29
    jpvnjpvn Posts: 40member
    Just pay them in pesos.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,653member


    This sounds like third world extortion and a simple way for broke countries to make some money. Everybody's trying to shake down Apple, since it is not exactly a secret that Apple has piles of cash.


     


    Let the Mexicans keep their i Fone name, iPhone is nothing like i Fone.


     


    What's next? Is Mexico going to forbid Apple from operating in that country because a Mexican farmer trademarked la manzana?

  • Reply 8 of 29
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,066member
    [quote] "Apple started the controversy, their first step was to file a lawsuit, they didn't previously approach the company."[/quote]

    If true, then Apple has made an arrogant blunder.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    At 40% of sales I wonder what their price will be.


    In pesos or dollars?  Maybe 100 million pesos.  Lol.

  • Reply 10 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,122member
    But they have a space between "i" and "Fone". Totally different.
  • Reply 11 of 29
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member


    I don't understand you people. This is a legitimate company, with a legitimate telecom service, who registered the name years before Apple developed its phone, and they won a legitimate court case. Yet you call them extortionists, criminals or whatever. Look at yourselves first.

  • Reply 12 of 29
    jpvnjpvn Posts: 40member
    thay call it ifone not iphone... if anything the mexican government is trying to get free burritos..
  • Reply 13 of 29
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jpvn wrote: »
    thay call it ifone not iphone... if anything the mexican government is trying to get free burritos..

    Imagine if it was reversed and someone came in after the iPhone was established and tried to create a technology business model around something called an iFone, I-Fone, or any such variant. I imagine most here would be quite against it. Everything I've seen has iFone not only being established before 2007 but also in use, and not in the shady way that Brasil's Gradiente did by releasing a product at the last minute that bear the name so it can legally maintain the trademark.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,032member
    Since iFone owns a class 38 telecommunications patent in Mexico and it only really affects iMessage and Facetime, Apple should just go ahead and drop the class 38 iPhone patent request and thumb their nose at iFone. I'm not sure the class 38 iPhone patent means anything for Apple anyway and a penalty on the cost of iMessage and Facetime would be $0 since it doesn't cost anything. I don't see how iFone could go after the cost of the iPhone since it isn't violating a class 38 patent.
  • Reply 15 of 29
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,122member


    As is always the case, Apple will make a business decision for a business issue.

  • Reply 16 of 29
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    apple ][ wrote: »
    This sounds like third world extortion and a simple way for broke countries to make some money. Everybody's trying to shake down Apple, since it is not exactly a secret that Apple has piles of cash.

    Let the Mexicans keep their i Fone name, iPhone is nothing like i Fone.

    What's next? Is Mexico going to forbid Apple from operating in that country because a Mexican farmer trademarked la manzana?

    Nonsense. The company was using the 'iFone' name before Apple even started selling a phone. They have a right to protect and defend their trademark. It has nothing to do with extortion or third world countries - it's just standard business in most of the world. Before you introduce a new product, you need to ensure that you can use the product name you've selected without infringing on someone else's trademark.

    Apple was free to argue that the other company wasn't using the name 'enough' to maintain the trademark, but the court says they are wrong. That's the way things work in the civilized world. Essentially the same thing in Brazil.
  • Reply 17 of 29
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Last I checked, brand names aren't generally translated or transcribed so how can they really say that iPhone and ifone are the same simply because they sound the same.

    And while they registered the name in 2003 were they using it then and are they really in the same market.
  • Reply 18 of 29
    please please READ the article :/ i am mexican and i live in mexico ive read tons about this, (I am also an apple fan) APPLE FILLED for the lawsuit not the other way arround :/. So stop your nonsense comments about third world country extortion :/ if anything it was apple taking adventage of a small company in mexico.

    In their lawsuit they said ifone and iphone sound exactly the same and that the name ifone was in violation of apples iphone trademark.

    It does sound the same in spanish cause in spanish the sound for ph and sound f are given to the letter f. In spanish Ph does not exist as a singled out sound. and we do not make a difference. I bet some of you have heard a mexican using both sounds indifferently.

    APPLE ARGUED THE LAST IN THE LAWSUIT APPLE FILLED, and of course they lost and it was then when the iphone trademark was granted to the mexican company, and it was after that when ifone filled for a lawsuit.

    And the comments about the cartels and about mexican corrupsion, yes there are cartels, and yes there is curruption here... but omg it has nothing to do with apple and the fact that ifone won is beacuse we have common sense in mexico and a lady who killed their cat in her microwave who files a lawsuit against LG because indeed there was not a sign in the instructions manual that said DANGER DO NOT INTRODUCE PETS IN IT and killed her cat, would have never won in mexico, (happend in america). In here to win a ridiculous lawsuit like that just doesnt happen... thats why apple lost when they decided to take legal action against ifone.

    And if cartels have taken over entire towns in the north of my country is because of the fact that regulation laws for guns in america (specially in the south states) is, in my opinion, a joke. and (the next is not my opinion is a fact) every weapon used by the cartels has been illegally imported from the united stated. In mexico is super hard to get a gun (by legal means anyways). I would also add that my previous president was a turd that had no idea of what he was doing when he sent the army against the cartels and started a war. Its f proven war only brings more war, dead only brings more dead.

    Returning to Apple... Make any comments you want to make about my country, just try not to sound so ignorant about what really happens here, and F read the article before posting the mexican company is bullying apple when it was the exact way arround :/
  • Reply 19 of 29


    "I don't understand you people..."


     


    Protesting gets in the way of cracking priceless Mexican jokes: cartels, paying in pesos, etc.

  • Reply 20 of 29
    oh yeah so you want me to make jokes about 7/11??? do you know how many people has been killed by cartels.? how many families?? its not about drugs its about thousands of innocent people in the last 6 years! you dare making jokes about thousend of people still being killed today by the cartels?? add to that the good people in the army who is not corrupt and has been killed because of that, add entire towns and i mean towns with popullation in the hindred of thousends who are afriad of going into the street and to send their childs into school

    YOU SIR HAVE NO RESPECT FOR HUMANITY AND LIFE IF YOU ARGUE THAT I AM KILLING A JOKE BY PROTESTING! AND EVEN MORE BY SAYING CARTELS CAN BE TREATED AS A JOKE

    I DARE YOU TO MAKE ONE JOKE ABOUT HURRICANE KATRINA 7/11 or some other american desaster! come on if you dont care anyway why not ??

    no right?

    then have some respect as well for life and for your mexican neighbors who are suffering and who have lost their friends and family :/.
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