Apple has faced an uphill battle over the years defending its rights to the iPhone name – and the latest blow comes from the Mexico Supreme Court. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has lost an appeal over the ‘iPhone’ trademark in Mexico, with the court upholding a previous ruling passed down in November.
At the center of the issue is a claim from Mexican company ‘iFone’, who has been using the name for their small call center. The ruling does not prevent Apple from selling the iPhone in Mexico, however it does present trademark issues that could weaken the company against future legal claims.
A Mexican technology services company is hoping to reap compensation from Apple Inc. and local mobile operators for the use of its brand name—Ifone—after Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that the local firm owns and makes proper use of the brand in the country.
The dispute with the maker of iPhones originated in 2009 when Apple attempted to register its phone name in Mexico, only to be told by the Mexican Industrial Property Institute that the name was already taken.
Apple sued to have the Ifone brand revoked on grounds it had expired for the Mexican company, but a federal court found that Ifone SA, registered in 2003, was making proper use of it.
The Supreme Court this week rejected Apple’s appeal against the decision at the request of Ifone.
Similar issues have come up in both China and Brazil, both of which have resulted in settlements allowing Apple to continue to use their trademark in exchange for a cash payout. It remains to be seen whether such a settlement will be reached in Mexico.