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Apple Loses Trademark Battle with Mexico’s iFone

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iPhone 5 by Brett Jordan on Flickr

iPhone 5 by Brett Jordan on Flickr

A Mexico court has denied Apple’s request for an injunction that would have stopped the Mexican company iFone from using its own trademarked name on its products — but don’t worry readers in Mexico! You can still purchase an iPhone 5 in your country.

How does that work, you may be wondering?

Well, the legal battle began a few years ago when Apple sued iFone in an attempt to strike down iFone’s trademark, registered in 2003 in class 38, which covers telecommunication services. The Mexican company countersued, and a court recently sided with it, finding that it was the iPhone name that would be too confusingly similar to iFone and not, as Apple alleged, the other way around.

Despite the ruling against it, Apple released the iPhone 5 in Mexico right on schedule as Apple does hold trademarks in Mexico for “iPhone” in two other categories, including one that covers electronic game devices. Apple had felt iFone wasn’t using its class 38 trademark, which is why it went after it.

Now with Apple’s request for an injunction denied, iFone’s lawsuit against Apple, in which it seeks 40 percent of iPhone’s profits in Mexico, continues.

This trademark tussle may remind you of Apple’s recent battle over the name iPad in China; in that situation, Apple ended up settling with Chinese company Proview for $60 million over the use of the name. As The Verge notes, the chances are good that settlement talks is also where the iPhone/iFone suit is headed, so we’ll keep an eye on that and keep you posted.

What do you think of this trademark battle? Should Apple be able to sell the iPhone alongside iFone?

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November 8th, 2012 at 10:44 am