back to article The official iPhone actually runs Android - in Brazil

Apple has lost the rights to the trademark "iPhone" in Brazil to a local manufacturer which makes an Android phone called the iPhone NEO. Yesterday the Brazilian Trademark and Patents Office rejected Apple's claims to the trademark "iPhone" in the category of telecoms and the category of electronic devices. "Registration …


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  1. ukgnome

    oh dear apple - boo hoo

    He who trolls last trolls longest.

    1. dssf

      Re: oh dear apple - boo hoo Lyrics from a popular 1980s song

      This will be an interesting Journey for Apple:

      (the lyrics are from memory, so, bear with me)

      "It's been a MYSTERY

      But STILL they TRY to SEE

      HOW something GOOD could hurt so BAD

      Caught on a ONE-WAY STREET

      The TASTE of BITTERsweet

      LOVE will SURVIVE SOMEhow, SOMEway....

      Could also throw a few stanzas from Foreigner's "Urgent", hehehe...

      Of course, if Apple throws around about US $600M, the lyrics could apply to the trademark holder AND the government of Brazil..

  2. james 68



    "Apple is contesting the decision on the basis that Gradiente failed to make use of its trademark within the five year window, states the Journal."

    ok so the brazillian company applied for the trademark in 2008, they made it in 2012 - thats 4 years... is apple hoping that their lord and savior Jobshova will change spacetime to make their statement correct?

    does physics actually matter in a universe with apple in it? is the answer to that question 42? seriously the world according to apple make no sense.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: um

      And you think it does make sense someone is allowed to sell a product called iPhone? It's not even a different type of product.

      For once common sense is on Apple's side.

      1. james 68

        Re: um


        because cisco might argue with you there

        dont drink the apple flavoured coolaid my friend

        1. james 68

          Re: um

          that last one was @ jdx

          just to be clear

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: um

          Apple agreed to buy the rights to use the name from Linksys I think.

          In Brazil the company that got the iPhone name didn't produce a product until after the iPhone was launched, so it is blatant cashing in.

          Trademarks have to be used or you lose them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: um

            Oops you defended Apple! No thumbs up for you! So sayeth the holy church of Android!

          2. PrivateCitizen

            Re: um


            Trademarks have to be used or you lose them.

            It seems it was used and within the window required by the law. What is the problem here?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: um

              >What is the problem here?

              The problem here is that the most holy jobsonian grail - the jEsusphone no-less - has been spurned in Brazil. The fanboise faithful are clearly very upset and shall squeem and squeem until they're thick.

      2. Irongut

        Re: um @JDX

        Since when is common sense on the side of the company that is using someone else's trademark that they applied for 7 years before the infringing party?

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: um @JDX

          Wow I expect a bite or two, but that response was like when Jesus tells the fishermen to put down their nets one more time and they catch so many the boat almost sinks.

          You're so easy to play.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: um @JDX

            JDX - So you say something stupid, then when it gets a deserved negative response you respond with "Oh, I was just trolling"?

            1. JetSetJim

              Re: um @JDX

              Perhaps that's how you get the gold badge - kinda like a Daily Mail article, just designed to attract "vigorous discussion" amongst the masses...

            2. JDX Gold badge

              Re: um @JDX

              >>JDX - So you say something stupid, then when it gets a deserved negative response you respond with "Oh, I was just trolling"?

              I've never, ever, claimed to have been trolling on these forums before, regardless of how unpopular my comment was. You can search if you like.

              Surely one is supposed to be accused of trolling rather than accused not pretending to be trolling?

          2. jake Silver badge

            @JDX ::tch:: (was: Re: um @JDX)

            You. Were. Not. Trolling.

            Immediately resign from your "handed down from on high for no apparent reason" gold badge, you have 'orribly embarrassed yourself.

      3. Dana W

        Re: um

        Remember, this is where the Android (and Windows) fanbois come to play.

        ANY attempt to defend Apple in any way will meet with the total disapproval of the Android children, and ther true revealed faith.

    2. Graham 24

      Re: um

      They *applied* in 2000. It was *granted* in 2008.

    3. JimC

      Re: um

      No, they applied for the tradmark in 2000, and were granted it in 2008, so they didn't make use of the trademark within 5 years of applying for it, but did so within 5 years of it finally being granted. Exactly the sort of gray area that makes lawyers rich...

      1. james 68

        Re: um

        matters not - since the 5 years start from the moment the application is GRANTED not from when they apply for it, hence they were still well within the 5 year term


    4. Steve Todd

      Re: um

      Um no. The Brazilian company applied for the trademark way back in 2000 but didn't get it approved until 2008. Apple applied in 2006, before any actual product had been created by Gradiente and after more than 5 years of them doing nothing with it.

      1. Irongut

        Re: um Steve Todd

        Can you read?

        The article states that Apple applied for the trademark in 2007, not 2006. It also clearly stated that the Brazilian company have 5 years to use their trademark from the date it was granted, in 2008. Which they have done. It makes no sense for them to have used the name before 2008 because it was not protected by a trademark.

        The reality distorsion field seems to impare fanbois' reading ability.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: um Steve Todd - @Irongut

          I'm going on what the BBC, quoting the Brazilian INPI who granted the trademark had to say, not Ana's in her bile spewing mood.

      2. james 68

        Re: um

        settle it once and for all - page 7 under the title "removal from register"

        5 years FROM GRANT

        i have experience applying for trademarks (and copyrights as it happens) and i can categorically tell you that it is ALWAYS from grant of application not from making the application that any forfeiture kicks in - regardless of country. but since i know that "well maybe not in brazil...." will be an argument youll notice that what i sent you to read above is describing the BRAZILIAN trademark process specifically.

        my god, has apple issued a version of maps for the mind?

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Re: um

      They applied for the trademark in 2000 and it was granted in 2008; presumably Gradiente'll argue that they had 5 years from it being GRANTED to act upon it, whereas Apple will be contesting that they should have had a commercial model by 2005.

    6. Philip Lewis

      Re: um

      "... applied for the trademark in 2008, they made it in 2012 - thats (sic) 4 years..."

      1: granted in 2008, not applied.

      2: 2008 to 2012 inclusive is 5 years. Egregious math fail.

      1. james 68

        Re: um

        true i should have used granted there - my bad

        however its only 5 years if the trademark was granted 1st jan 2008 and the phone was made 31st dec 2012 (and thats even stretching it as it should really be 1st jan 2013)

        otherwise still under 5 years. the math is strong with this one.

  3. robert_raw

    The worlds best iphone?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It has Android on it so it must be good? yeah right. There are some downright awful cheap ass Android phones around that would make people rather have anal surgery than suffer.

      Android works well on the high end phones, low end is a different matter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Low enders

        "Android works well on the high end phones, low end is a different matter."

        But what does work on the low end phones then? You certainly cant be saying iOS performs better than Android on shitty devices, can you?

  4. mordac

    I'm sure this won't affect Apple's investment in manufacturing in Brazil...

  5. TRT Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    It's about time...

    they had a strip or two torn off them.

    Paris, because she knows about Brazilians.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's about time...

      >"It's about time... they had a strip or two torn off them."

      I didn't get the joke the first two times I read it - very funny. Guess I need coffee this morning!

  6. Mark .

    I always thought it a bit suspect having a trademark on such a trivial version of the generic term. I mean, can I have a trademark on "pHoNe", with that capitalisation?

    (Note, I'm not saying generic terms can't be trademarked - e.g., nothing wrong having a company name of "Apple", so long as they don't sell actual apples.)

    It leads to problems such as, would it be infringing if someone made a jPhone? Or who owns the rights to an iTV? The other problem is that other people may also independently have wanted to make trivial variations to the generic term, but are now prevented from doing so - a trademark should be one a term that people are unlikely to use in that context, unless they're clearly ripping them off.

    I would say I wonder why no one's made an "itablet" just to annoy them, though a quick Google finds pages suggesting these do exist (and also throwing up pages from 2009/2010 from the media hyping Apple's then alleged product, even before it was originally announced - one from the Telegraph saying how it'll change our lives, well sorry, it's 2013 and I'm still waiting).

    1. Mike Moyle

      @ Mark

      With trademark infringement, I think that the point is "Where does it start causing confusion?"

      Take your "jPhone" for instance: As long as the "j" was accentuated -- ALWAYS accentuated -- so that there was NO way that a cursory glance would not mistake it for an "i" -- a different font, colored a bright, screaming red where the rest of the logo is turquoise, the tail of the 'j' is made longer than usual... the possibilities are endless -- it might pass the "not likely to cause confusion in the general public" smell test.On the other hand, making the logo in a similar font to Apple's, in the same all-black, with the tail of the "j" shortened or otherwise de-emphasized (which is,itself,another judgement call -- when is something "too much"?) to lessen the difference between a "j"and an "i" then a case can be made that it DOESN'T pass that test.

      xPhone, if made suitably visually distinctive, might pass the test... it might not. aPhone, all the rest... same thing -- maybe maybe not. Picking theone letter that MOST CLOSELY resembles the one that differentiates an "iPhone" from a "phone", however,is likely to be a bit whiffy on the smell-test

      The real question,though,is -- in the case of someone wanting to enter a market that ALREADY has a competitor selling a well-known and popular product with an identifiable name -- why would one WANT to use a similar-sounding/similar-looking name if they're NOT hoping to ride on the coattails of that other product in the public mind? Remember that the term"iPhone" was not in common usage when Apple named their product. Once they DID bring the term into common usage, however, it became the responsibility of companies following on from there NOT to attempt to infringe -- just the same as it would be their responsibility not to name their mobile phone the "Galazy S", or the "Blackbury", or any number of OTHER "trivial variations to the generic term" that resemble products already on the market.

      Interestingly -- to me, at least -- is; that, if I read aright, Apple maintains the sole right to the name iPhone for "computing devices", just not cellphones. Does this mean that the Brazilian company has to cripple their (otherwise,non-infringing) telephone so that it can't access the Google store or run non-phone applications? It seems to me that a case could be made that allowing it to run non-telephony-related apps would put it dangerously close to, if not INTO, the area of a "computing device".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Any company that has a name which is in the public consciousness has a right to defend it if something blatantly similar appears.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Any company that has a name which is in the public consciousness has a right to defend it if something blatantly similar appears.

        I hold the trademark on Anonymous Coward. All of you anonymous cowards posting under that name will hear from my lawyers.

    3. Nelbert Noggins

      I suspect that unknown UK broadcasting company that's been operating for 50+ years might have something to say about the naming of an iTV device/product targeted at the UK market.

  7. M.D.

    Hang on a minute....

    <searches pockets>

    No, it's ok. I can't find an iota of sympathy for Apple (thought some had fallen in with the lint in my pockets)


  8. frank ly

    It takes 8 years ...!

    ... to get a trademark application approved in one country?! That's ridiculous. The Brazilian government must be running on molasses.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: It takes 8 years ...!

      They probably take 20 years to lay 100 miles of railway too, these backwards countries.

    2. hplasm

      Re: It takes 8 years ...!

      Why not molasses? Mussolini's govt ran the trains on thyme...

  9. Kevin Johnston

    This should answer the questions though

    I presume Apple will be watching closely to see if they can get evidence to show that Android phones are confusingly similar the the US iPhone (losing track of where they can't use the name these days). Just wait for the number of people returning them as they were expecting the Apple variant.

    Of course if that number is negligible then Apple may have to find a different reason.

  10. Nanners

    So much hate...

    So little time. Some of you need a new hobby. It was an corrupt decision that was the result of people being paid off. I give you a little under the table and we can all profit off the Americans. If I were apple, I would pull the iphone strait out of brazil before anyone could even blink.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. .stu

      Re: So much hate...

      "It was an corrupt decision that was the result of people being paid off." Yes it was, but the article isn't about the billion dollar judgement in the Apple vs Samsung patent infringement case. Please stay on-topic.

      Speaking of which, I would have found it highly suspicious if the trademark had been given to the rich American company when the other party put their application in 7 years earlier, years before anyone had even heard of the Apple iPhone.

    3. hplasm

      Re: So much hate...

      The iphone strait isn't in Brazil, it;s in the far East somewhere...

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    My guess is that the makes of the iphone neo in Brazil will probably be willing to take a small chunk of the billions of dollars Apple have to give up the iphone trademark.

  12. Richard 120


    Just change your phones name

    Not that big of a deal.

  13. Youvegottobe Joking

    What's in a name?

    I wonder did they trademark Jesus Phone, might be a tough one to get past them in a strongly catholic country...... But no-one would be in any doubt what the product was.

    I wonder if they export those android iphones? maybe its a nice metal case with some fruit above it on the back, or possibly just a picture of some rainforest on fire.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android fans will ge their teeth kicked in and by Samsung

    Samsung's team pushed very hard in 2012 to get their "market share" numbers up to sail past Apple's iPhone in order to ride their new found momentum into 2013 and into all-new territory with a new operating system. That will sting Google's Android whose only star player is Samsung.

    Thats right! A new Korean report states that Samsung is going to try a breakaway move from Google with its own operating system and perhaps a new Samsung Store for online shoppers. Now that Samsung Electronics has emerged as a global smartphone leader, it must correct its one glaring weakness: Software. Samsung is reported about to introduce its very own operating system at the Mobile World Congress at the end of this month. Samsung will showcase a high-end phone running on the new OS to a closed group of clients.

    Samsung officially announced that it plans to release the phone within this year.

    And poor el-Reg cant bring you the news because they're too slow milking click-throughs working up the Fandroids against Appletards.

    Tsk tsk tsk

    1. PrivateCitizen

      Re: Android fans will ge their teeth kicked in and by Samsung

      You do know that Samsung already has its own App Store type thing, don't you? But it is android apps in there.

      Are you suggesting (leaking?) the idea that Samsung has invented a new os on the quiet but has enough debs and apps to take on google / apple?

      No wonder you are AC.

    2. PrivateCitizen

      Re: Android fans will ge their teeth kicked in and by Samsung

      Or did you mean their Bada system? (If so, not new, not secret, reported openly)

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: did you mean their Bada system?

        ITYM Tizen - Bada has been in production since 2010.

    3. .stu

      Re: Android fans will ge their teeth kicked in and by Samsung

      It's gonna be called sOS.

      1. Fatman

        Re: It's gonna be called sOS.

        That wouldn't happen to stand for:

        same Old Shit,

        now would it?????

  15. JaitcH

    Brazilian electronics maker Gradiente applied for the trademark "iPhone" in 2000

    So who says Apple doesn't plagiarise repeatedly?

    Apples logo and name were 'borrowed' from competitors when it could only afford half-page adverts in the BYTE magazine.

    Now a COUNTRY has proved that Apple missed the mark by several years.

    They should have done a Walmart - paid off officials in South America.

  16. Fábio Rabelo de Deus

    Just a Remminder for British

    To Ones that do not remember, the "Brazilian" Gradiente is the one that both Garrard in the late 80'...

  17. Dana W

    I'd like to thank everyone in this thread for making my point for me.

    1. NumptyScrub

      @Dana W

      quote: "Remember, this is where the Android (and Windows) fanbois come to play.

      ANY attempt to defend Apple in any way will meet with the total disapproval of the Android children, and ther true revealed faith.


      I'd like to thank everyone in this thread for making my point for me."

      I'd have to say that your comments do seem to fly a little close to "true revealed faith" territory themselves, you know. Are you implying that a trademark applied for in 2000 should be nullified because another manufacturer created a product with the same name in a different country, seven years later? The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007 (according to wikifiddlers, anyway), which is definitely prior to the grant of trademark, but is seven years after the application by Gradiente.

      On a purely logical basis, the trademark and patent system would have to be first come, first served. Since this is what has appeared to happen in Brazil (2000 is definitely before 2007, when Apple applied), I can only assume that you are advocating that large companies should be able to shortcut the system because they have done something in an entirely different jurisdiction? Are you implying that the US Trademark granted to Apple should have precedence worldwide?

      I'm sure you are a very nice person, but you do appear to be (deliberately?) ignoring some of the basic facts of this story in your rush to tar anyone who disagrees with your (implied) opinion as some sort of mindless "fanboi" of an alternative phone operating system. I hate to be the adult in the room, but an OS is just a tool the same as the phone itself; the issue here is one of naming rights not hardware capabilities, and I cannot honestly find fault with the way it has been handled. Brazil, as an independant coutry with sovereign rights, are at liberty to handle this any way they see fit. They have handled it exactly in accordance with their own statutes, and since Dec 2012 is contained within the 5 year period from 2008 (I note that article does not state the date in 2008 that marks the start of the 5 year period) Gradiente would appear to have satisfied their obligations to keep the trademark.

      Lets see how the appeal by Apple turns out. That will speak volumes about Brazil's legislative structure, and tolerance to bribery, not this decision :)

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