Apple should probably get ready for a lawsuit or a settlement agreement in Brazil. Brazil’s patent authority announced on Wednesday that Apple does not own the iPhone name in Brazil. That distinction belongs to a local company called Gradiente SA. While this ruling from the agency doesn't mean that Apple can't use the name for its products in the region, it does mean that Apple may have a court fight on its hands somewhere down the road.
The official verdict only makes it clear the rights belong to the Brazilian company, said Marcelo Chimento, a spokesman with the national patent office. He added that stopping misuse of the name is beyond the patent office’s authority, and that any dispute would have to be decided in court or for the two companies to hash out some sort of agreement. The latter is the likely solution for Apple, because Gradiente SA may have the upper hand when it comes to the iPhone name.
The company filed for use of the iPhone name brand in 2000. In 2004 it launched their first smart phone and in 2008 it was awarded the use of the name "iphone." The "iphone" (note the use of the lowercase "p" in the name) is not anything like Apple's device. The line of smart phones cost less than an iPhone, weigh more, have lower screen resolutions, and use Google's Android operating system.
Most believe Apple will simply settle in the wake of this ruling. For now Apple has no comment.