Apple Can't Use The iPhone Name in Mexico

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Apple Can't Use The iPhone Name in Mexico

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Apple's trademark lawsuit against Mexican telecommunications company, iFone, has backfired horribly.

Apple's zealous protection of its trademarks may have cost the company dearly, if a report from Mexican newspaper, El Universal, is to be believed.

In 2009, Apple launched a lawsuit against Mexican telecom company, iFone, arguing that consumers wouldn't be able to tell it and the iPhone apart. Now the name iFone does bear a striking resemblance to that of Apple's ludicrously successful shiny tray/phone hybrid, but here's where things get interesting; the iFone trademark was registered in 2003, back when the iPhone was just a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye. Apple didn't register the iPhone trademark until 2007.iFone won the lawsuit, then counter sued and won that case too. Apple appealed, but the case was tossed out last week.

According to the Judges sitting in Mexico's 18th District Appellate Court, iFone is the only company allowed to use the "iPhone" or "iFone" brands in Mexico. The ruling could even be applied retroactively, allowing iFone to claim a sizable chunk of the profits Apple has made using the brand name in Mexico.

As iFone's lawyer, Eduardo Gallįstegui, explained to El Universal (as translated by the clever chaps over at The Register):

"All that remains is processing claims for invasion of brand. Additionally, they face a sanction of up to 20,000 days at minimum wage rate, and iFone shall be entitled to claim compensation for damage caused by the invasion of their brand. These damages may not be less than 40 per cent of the sales of iPhone services in Mexico, as provided by law."

This is the second time in recent months that one of Apple's copyright/patent lawsuit has backfired. In July, a UK judge ordered the company to publish a statement on its UK Homepage saying that, contrary to its earlier claims, Samsung had not in fact infringed on one of its registered iPad designs. Apple complied, but in a rather snide, passive aggressive way. The apology, hidden behind a tiny link at the bottom of the company's UK frontpage, was filled with digs at Samsung - including quotes from a judge saying Samsung's Galaxy tablet was "not as cool" as the iPad - and ended with a claim that courts in other countries had ruled in Apple's favor. Not amused by Apple's behavior, the judge reprimanded the company for putting up an "incorrect" and "non-compliant" statement and ordered them to put up another one, in a larger font.

Source: El Universal via The Register

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Someone at Samsung had a very nice surprise today.

Does this count as patent trolling? It feels like Apple is patent trolling a bit here. I think Mexican people can tell the difference between "Ph" and "F"

Honestly, this is just beautiful. First come, first served. Apple should have done their research.

Kinda reminds me of that company going after Nintendo in the 80's, I believe it was over the use of the word "Kong". Just because you're huge, and the opposition you wish to crush is relatively tiny, doesn't mean you just automatically get your way and that laws don't apply to you. Particularly if your goal is to go into another country and tell their judge what to do with one of their companies :3

Karma. (and a lack of common sense/googling among Apple lawyers)

striking resemblance to that of Apple's ludicrously successful shitty tray/phone hybrid

no hate, that's just how I read it when I first saw it. No joke

<_>

DrunkOnEstus:
Kinda reminds me of that company going after Nintendo in the 80's, I believe it was over the use of the word "Kong".

That was Universal. The basis for the lawsuit was that Nintendo was copying King Kong... they lost on the grounds that they had previously (successfully) won a different lawsuit against RKO by saying King Kong was in the public domain, thus Universal did not own any rights for Nintendo to infringe to begin with.

P.S. Thanks

Zombie_Moogle:
Does this count as patent trolling? It feels like Apple is patent trolling a bit here. I think Mexican people can tell the difference between "Ph" and "F"

Patent trolling is basically what Apple has been doing for some years by now. I for one welcome this slap in the face to the arrogant tossers.

Ronack:
Honestly, this is just beautiful. First come, first served. Apple should have done their research.

When reading it, yeah. However, I'm not so sure they can tell the different between the homophonic (in English) sounds when the words are spoken, such as by a salesperson or in the audio component of an ad.

iF one may say, I'm betting Apple is wishing they weren't so phoney right now.

As I say. Ever since the age of the iPod, or maybe sooner, Apple went to craps.

Oh this is karma, this is justice, this is...beautiful. Samsung just got their birthday and Christmas present rolled into one here.

I experienced one of these things first hand. When Smucker's arrived in Mexico they tried to use their quilt-like design on their jam bottles. However, one of my dad's clients had been in Mexico for 20 years prior, using a very similar design and trademarked the use of the quilt-like design for jam jars. The lawsuit was doomed for failure for Smucker's, so I thnk they settled. I can't remember quite well, I was very young at the time. So yeah, smallish company can battle against mucher bigger foes when rules are obeyed.

Hrm... seems Apple must have their own search engine in development to compete with Google.

I can't think of any other explanation for them missing iFone's 2003 patent besides using the Apple Maps technology applied to internet searches.

I mean seriously... what did they expect would happen when suing over a brand name infringement against someone who had that brand name before you did...

Take that, you lawsuit-happy twits!

Captcha: super star. Yeah, I bet that sums up how iFone is feeling right about now.

Oh... this is Good News.

I can't wait to find out how this all ends.

Oh my, it looks like it is not only batman that eats justice for breakfast.
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Seriously though, can't Apple just rename the "iphone" for Mexico?

Good, fuck apple.

They are the ones who really deserved the golden shit.

Grey Carter:
a report from Mexican newspaper, El Universal.

Fuck this article, I'm just going to sit here giggling like a child because of the name of the newspaper.

Grey Carter:

"All that remains is processing claims for invasion of brand. Additionally, they face a sanction of up to 20,000 days at minimum wage rate"

Lucky for Apple the Mexican minimum wage is so low, won't really be much of a penalty for them. Based on a quick wikipedia search and some lousy math skills, i'm guesstimating around $5.5 mill. Spare change for them, really.
And i firmly believe that all lawsuits should be sorted out not in the courtroom, but by way of go-kart racing and paintball matches. Would be so much more interesting to watch.

Ronack:
Honestly, this is just beautiful. First come, first served. Apple should have done their research.

Oh, I don't believe the iFone guys are the ones who got served in this equation.

I'm someone that preferred Apple and MacOS to beige-boxing back in the days.

As such someone, I find it... quite sad that this ruling makes me happy.

I think Apple and their strategies stink, and they stink up every market they sooner or later turn into a battleground. There are the cultist Apple fanatics you can't argue with, I get that. There are the plenty of young Apple newly converted newfags that just have to own Apple stuff, even though they have no clue about, well, anything. Very few people manage or seem at least willing to remain objective or neutral in this thing, which, frankly, pisses me off to great extent.

On one hand, pretty much everything Apple does at the moment annoys me. The poor decisions, the questionable design choices, etc. etc. etc. (I spare you that yadda yadda as it would just feel like me being on infinite repeat)...

That's currently not my main gripe with them. Apart from the obvious patent trolling, which might, in part, be due to how the (US) patenting shindig works, I keep getting the feeling that they're disrupting the market and making life for competitors harsh not by pumping out awesome hardware that is competitively priced, but by unleashing hordes of bloodthirsty lawyers. That stinks.

I hope Apple will find a way, a mindset to be able to coexist in free markets, and not behaving like some dictator-run modern day Yugo, Lada or Volkswagen eager to conquer every market known to man.

The underlying issue of patent laws is in need of some bloody and very raw fixing, as well. See, if Apple risks losing their proper patents due to how the (US) patent law works, proper useless patent trolls that are not Apple would still be empowered to do their trolling and leeching business. That's got to stop.

Wow... I was not expecting this...

Well, say goodbye to your iPhones Brazil. From now on you will have much shittier iFones

Zombie_Moogle:
Does this count as patent trolling? It feels like Apple is patent trolling a bit here. I think Mexican people can tell the difference between "Ph" and "F"

you know, its a funny thing about people telling difference. there is "ipod" which sounds simlar to "ipuod" and "puod(as)" means a pot in my language and for a while there ive seen people thinking they are talking about pots.

Karma is a real bitch, Apple. I can't deny that whenever I see something go south for Apple, my ice heart warms a little.

Yey for justice being served and a smaller company in the right succesfully defending itself against a larger bully :)

I'm Mexican. This pleases me.

At any rate, I can see how the pronunciation in Spanish would be reaaaaally similar, unless we're talking about pronouncing iPhone with the US pronunciation and iFone with a Mexican pronunciation (iFoh-neh). But I doubt that's the case.

So yeah, I guess Apple got a little too cocky thinking another country couldn't possibly come up with a "clever" name like that first.

Uh huh... I live in Mexico and in all of my life, I've never heard of the "iFone" brand (I didn't even know it was a legitimate brand :S) and belive me, not many of us are so stupid to not recognize an "F" from a "Ph".

Having said that, good for the iFone people, anything that makes Apple's day shittier always pleases me.

Excellent. You don't get to attack the trademark-holder of a term because you trademarked a similar term years later. That's completely backwards and I'm amazed the people at Apple's legal team were stupid enough to even try that.

I am currently drooling while watching youtube video of Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

To see Apple bitch while not making products superior to that of Samsung pisses me off.

So, yes. This news pleases me.

EDIT: So.. Mexican judicial system has more common sense than juries of U.S.

Don't mean to look down on Mexicans but this kinda makes me think..

*sniff* its beautiful! Karma at its best.

This warms the cockles of my heart.

Truly, 'ts a beautiful to weep manly tears of justice while staring into the deep blue sky.

I only wish Steve Jobs had lived to see this...

Ah yes, Apple continuing to be shitty and worse than Android, excellent, my plan in coming to fruition...

Ha ha, Oh gosh, I hate apple....

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