Apple has been absolved of any wrongdoing in a Mexican trademark lawsuit. The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) on Thursday said Apple was not guilty of any wrongdoing surrounding the iPhone’s infringement of a local telecommunications company marketing the phonetically identical “iFone” brand.
In its decision, the IMPI found the “iPhone” mark as infringing on Mexico’s iFone trademark, but only as it applies to telecommunications services, reports El Universal.
IMPI is imposing a monetary fine on local cellular providers that carry the iPhone. Those companies have 15 days to remove “iPhone” branding from all of their advertising materials.
Apple came out of the dispute basically unscathed as the lawsuit targeted telecommunications companies using the iPhone name as a brand. Apple does not operate its own wireless network – and iFone does not manufacture physical products – so Apple was outside of the scope of the lawsuit.
March of 2013 saw Mexico’s Supreme Court denying Apple’s bid to overturn a prior ruling against the company and its sole ownership of the “iPhone” name. The phonetic similarities between iFone and iPhone were also involved in that ruling.
iFone will now be able to file civil suits to recover damages associated with the telcos’ usage of the iPhone trademark. However, the Mexican iPhone carriers can also appeal the IMPI ruling to the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice.