Brazil's Institute of Industrial Property has ruled that Apple does not hold exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark in the country. The decision comes after a dispute with Gradiente, a local company that first registered the trademark in 2000 — long before Apple's revelatory smartphone was launched in 2007.
Apple may continue to use the iPhone trademark in Brazil, but it won't be able to claim exclusive ownership of the mark. That opens the door for Gradiente — which released its own Android-based "iphone" late last year — and other cellphone makers to capitalize on the popular brand. But that flexibility only applies to mobile phones: the INPI says Cupertino will keep some semblance of exclusivity over "iPhone" when the trademark is used elsewhere.