The word iPhone becomes banned in Mexico after trademark ruling
Chris Hadley / 5 years ago
We hear enough these days about how Apple is taking on Samsung for the nth reason yet again, but over the last few months there has been another case brewing with Apple, but this time it is against them. In Mexico, a company known as iFone S.A. de C.V. registered their name way back in 2003, where their business model is to provide bespoke services to call centres and businesses. The key fact here is that Apple did not register their mobile handset; the iPhone until later in 2007.
All around the world, the word iPhone is close to a household name and whilst there are a few small time spin offs, particularly in China, for the most part it is what it is. This can’t be said for Mexico however as iFone S.A. de C.V. have been upholding their case with the Mexican Intellectual Property Agency, urging them to ban the later Apple name due to the fact that it is pronounced in the exact same way and therefore there is no way to distinguish between the two.
After months of debate and arguments flowing around the table, last Thursday a ruling was settled in favor of iFone, meaning that mobile phone carriers are no longer allowed to use the work iPhone in any of their contracts or advertisements and to rub salt into the wounds, each carrier has to pay a fine of $104,000 – even though they were not the ones who decided on the name, they simply act as a third-party that sells the products.
Whilst the ban is effective as of now, Apple are allowed to set an appeal to the ruling, in hope that they can once again have the word in circulation, however the chance of this happening is as much as that of Apple themselves not suing someone else in the future and if that was not enough, there is word that the Mexican firm could meet Apple in the courts, where they would sue them for anything up to an estimated $1.5B.
Considering this is not the first time that the word iPhone has landed an argument over who has the rightful ownership over it, whilst Apple may have made the word a household name, perhaps finding a more local alternative such as iTeléfono may be more appropriate – there’s no mistaking between the two that way – they’re phonetically different so surely that would be acceptable? Time will tell I guess.
Source: Fudzilla, Image courtesy nixsense.net