quinta-feira, 20 de dezembro de 2012

iphone brand "stolen" by a Brazilian company. What happened?

Update from June 2014: A Brazilian Federal Court has returned rights over the "Apple" brand to Apple corporation. Please see this link. The matter is still subject to scrutiny by Brazilian regional courts of appeal and by the Supreme Court of Justice. 

Everyone probably heard the story. Gradiente, a Brazilian company, has launched a mobile device called iPhone withou Apple's permission.

Moreover, the Brazilian company might sue Apple, for using the "iphone" brand in Brazil.

You may check the story here, here and here.

So, what is true about it?

1) Brazilian brand registration system do no recognize rights to international brands automatically. 

      Notorious brands known abroad may have preference over  Brazilian registration, but only if the brand has been registered at a country that maintains a mutual recognition convention with Brazil (not many).
     And, most importantly, only if the brand has been registered abroad before the Brazilian registration.

2) The first one to file for a brand in Brazil will have rights over it 99% of the time.

3) In this case, Gradiente registered the brand way before Apple launched the "iphone". Thus, the rights over the brand belong to it, as per Brazilian Law.

4) Apple may, indeed, be prohibited of using the "iphone" brand in Brazil for marketing mobile phones.

5) This is not a surprise to anyone.

Brand registrations are public and easily accessible. Apple's lawyers certainly had access to it before Gradiente's launched its device.

 And you can, too. Just check: http://formulario.inpi.gov.br/MarcaPatente/jsp/servimg/servimg.jsp?BasePesquisa=Marcas and type IPHONE.

Why don't you check IPAD, GOOGLE, and FACEBOOK too?

6) Plan to do business in Brazil? Register the brand first and ask questions later. 

For brand registration and any other intellectual property issues, I work closely with Mr. Dolabella, one of the best lawyer in Brazil in this specific area. You may check his website here.

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