Photo: iPhone vs iFone Mexico
A judge has denied U.S. technology giant Apple an injunction that would have allowed it to continue selling iPhone-branded products in Mexico, ruling that the company iFone had the rights to that brand name earlier, an attorney for the Mexican firm told Efe.
The Mexico City-based court handed down the ruling last Thursday, Eduardo Gallastegui told Efe.
“It’s the third time Apple has lost,” Gallastegui said, adding that “iFone is fully entitled to the use of its brand name.”
In 2009, Apple filed a complaint against iFone with the Mexican Industrial Property Institute, or IMPI, demanding that firm stop using its brand name because the phonetic similarities could confuse users.
But the petition was denied after authorities found that iFone - a provider of software for call centers - had registered its trade name in Mexico in 2003, four years before Apple did.
The Mexican firm later filed a countersuit for damages and to block Apple from selling its flagship smartphone product in Mexico.
Major telecom companies in Mexico could also be affected by the court ruling.
Leading Mexican cellphone provider Telcel began marketing the iPhone in 2007, offering a plan that included unlimited Internet access.
Telcel and No. 2 wireless operator Movistar, a unit of Spain’s Telefonica, announced that they would begin selling the much-awaited iPhone 5 on Friday.