The Attorney General of the Republic, Augusto Aras, has issued an opinion aligning with Apple in a dispute over the exclusive use of the iPhone brand in Brazil between the American handset maker and the Brazilian company Gradiente. The opinion was sent to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) on Friday, June 15.
Brazilian Consumer Electronics firm IGB in 2020 revived a long-running trademark dispute with Apple over the use of the iPhone trademark in Brazil. IGB originally registered the “iPhone” name in 2000 and began to sell a lineup of IPHONE-branded Android smartphones in 2012. During a short period of time, the Brazilian company was awarded exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark, but that ruling was overturned and Apple and IGB were both given the right to use the name in the country.
A decision in 2018 upheld the 2013 ruling that gave both companies the right to use the trademark. The case had been brought to the Supreme Federal Court in Brazil, as IGB sought to reverse the 2018 decision.
Brazil’s highest court accepted a constitutional appeal in 2020 by ISB Electronica, an electronics company that registered the iPhone trademark in Brazil in 2000.
Under the name Gradiente, IGB Electronica produced a line of IPHONE-branded Android smartphones in Brazil in 2012, and there was a period of time when the Brazilian company was given exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark.
Brazilian Prosecutor General Augusto Aras last Friday issued an opinion favorable to Apple to the Federal Supreme Court (STF) — where the case is being held.
Aras said that even though IGB Electronica applied to register the iPhone trademark several years before Apple’s smartphone was launched, the “iPhone” brand has since become a globally recognized name, and therefore plays an important role in the world electronics market.
Aras said the use of the iPhone brand should not be subject to the traditional question of who registered the name first, but instead the “supervening context and relevant factual changes” should be considered before a decision is made.
The Prosecutor General’s opinion has now been delivered to the Brazilian Supreme Court. The court will hear the case and come to a decision, although a date for the hearing has not been announced.