Only in December, Brazilian manufacturer Gradiente Electronica hit the news due to the release of its iPhone Neo One. The obvious similarities between the Brazilian company’s chosen brand name and Apple’s infamous iPhone sparked the obvious rumour that the American tech-giant would sue Gradiente over rights to the trademark. Which it did.
However, yesterday the courts ruled in the South American firm’s favour, claiming that Apple has no right to use the iPhone trademark exclusively. This is because the Brazilian company trademarked the iPhone back in the year 2000- a whole 6 years before Apple released its own iPhone handset.
The ruling, however, did confirm that Apple will be permitted to continue to sell its products in Brazil, which is somewhat a silver lining in this whole debacle, especially as South America has been selected as Apple’s next target market after China.
Despite the obvious similarities in name, the Brazilian iPhone shares few of the Apple iPhone’s features. Firstly, it looks nothing like the familiar iPhone that we all know and love. And secondly, it is run with Android, not an operating system which is anywhere close to Apple’s iOS. However, one huge difference between the two rival handsets is price: the iPhone Neo One is being sold at around £196, which is just a snippet of Apple’s £525 price tag for the iPhone 5.
Apple has announced that it aims to appeal the decision on the grounds that Gradiente Electronica failed to release the iPhone model within 5 years of trademarking the name. However, as far as I can see this latest court case has simply caused a dent in Apple’s pride; the Brazilian iPhone is far from likely to compete with Apple’s globally successful iPhone series in Brazil, or in South America in general. Whether Apple’s appeal to the courts will emerge successful is really irrelevant: the American supergiant is simply trying to avoid yet another blow to its slightly declining reputation.
Written by Charlotte Kertrestel