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Tim Cook gets a Brazilian

Posting in Technology

Rocked in Rio. Tim Cook's Apple does not have exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark in Brazil

A Brazilian regulator has shaved Apple's ability to use the "iPhone" trademark in the country, declaring that the company does not have exclusive rights.

"The ruling is the result of a local company, Gradiente Eletronica, registering the name in 2000, six years before the U.S. firm," the BBC reports.

Gradiente launched its own iPhone handset running the rival Android operating system in December.

Under the ruling by the Rio de Janeiro-based National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), both companies can continue to use the iPhone name on handsets. But as the BBC notes, Gradiente now has the option to sue for exclusivity in Brazil, South America's largest market.

Apple did retain exclusive iPhone trademark rights in other areas including advertising. Only Apple can use the name on clothing, for instance. (Clothing? Is there really iPhone clothing?)

Apple argued that it, not Gradiente, has rights to the handset name because Gradiente did not release an iPhone until 2012. That's a dozen years after Gradiente registered the name, and six years after Apple applied for naming rights.

Gradiente sell its iPhone Neo One for 599 reals ($304).

Apple, run by CEO Tim Cook, is appealing the ruling.

Photo credit: Haotian0905 via Wikimedia.

— By on February 13, 2013, 8:27 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure