Just In Time For The Holiday Season, Apple Loses iPhone Trademark In Mexico

from the live-by-IP,-die-by-IP dept

When it comes to trademark bullies, Apple is one of the more prolific muscle-flexers in the arena. For some time now, they've been known to be extremely aggressive over their trademarks. From the idea of having an apple in a company's logo, to the name of one's store for mobile applications, all the way to how you offer their products in your own company's contests, Apple defends their marks the way a jealous puppy defends a rawhide.

That's why, while we may agree that aggressive trademark enforcement is at times overblown and unnecessary, it's really rather fun to watch Apple have the trademark stick wrestled from their grips and get beaten over the head with it, such as when Mexico invalidates their use of the "iPhone" mark in commerce within their country. And just in time for Christmas, too! The following is a wonderful story about how a Mexican telecom company already had a mark for iFone, but even more interesting is the long history Apple has of arrogantly bullying everyone else over their attempt to validate the iPhone mark.
The Mexican company registered the trademark iFone way back in 2003, full four years before Apple filed to trademark the name iPhone (which was already owned by Linksys in US, more about that later). Apple, despite fully aware of the fact that the Mexican company owned the trademark since 2004, sued them in 2009 to invalidate the iFone trademark. So Apple wanted iFone brand to be invalidated, which was filed in 2004, because it was similar to iPhone name which was filed in 2007.
Apparently, Apple's argument for invalidating the pre-existing iFone mark in Mexico went something along the lines of, "Hey, we're Apple." This, as the article goes on to note, is something Apple did that adds to their longstanding history of not giving a damn about anyone else's trademarks. You may recall that the iPhone mark was originally owned in the US by Cisco, who settled with Apple on use of the mark. But back to iFone.

It turns out that the Mexican courts were understandably unimpressed with Apple's possibly trademarked "Hey, we're Apple" legal argument. They upheld the iFone mark and now Apple can't use the iPhone term inside of Mexico.
It means a lot of trouble for "sue first talk later" Apple which is engaged in dozens of lawsuits around the world. This decision will have a huge impact on Apple's market in Mexico and they now won't be able to use the name iPhone in the country - this decision coming before the holiday season is nothing short of A Nightmare At The Mexico City for Apple.

Apple needs to hold its horses back. It needs to stop its "sue everyone else" drive as it has started to come back and bite them.
Which is the problem with lawsuit-happy companies like Apple. They escalate the war to the point where their own extremism is met with opposite extremism to combat it. Is this whole trademark nonsense necessary? Probably not. I can't claim to be an expert on how the average Mexican citizen associates something that says iFone with Apple, but I'm guessing they're smart and in-tune with technology enough that they know the two aren't related. I could be wrong about that, but there's one thing I'm not wrong about.

It's immensely entertaining to see aggressive IP folks get bit in the ass by their own tactics.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Alana (profile), Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Nice to see someone sticking it where it counts for these patent trolls.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 3:58pm

    LOL

    iFucked

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:02pm

    kick starter for ifones legal fees?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:07pm

    ¡Viva México!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    arcan, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:15pm

    lets see how the trolls manage to complain about this...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: LOL

    Rather iGotFucked

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:32pm

    Re:

    BUT APLLE IS BIG! BIGGER THAN YOUR PENIS!

    *For more penis call 1-800-iphone!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Got what they deserved too bad its not in a bigger country where apple would actually sweat about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    These news must be false, everyone knows politicians are bought and paid for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    kenichi tanaka, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:52pm

    I love Apple's argument: "Hey, We're Apple". What the F kind of argument is that? Viva la Mexico for slapping down Apple.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 5:17pm

    no

    read theverge.com for the real story

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: LOL

    iGotFuckedAtTheUsedCarLot

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    They are, just not by apple

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    kenichi tanaka, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 6:28pm

    Re: no

    Leave it to an idiot to post a link to a pro-Apple website. That site cannot be taken seriously. lols

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 6:34pm

    Re: Re: no

    yeah, we should all trust TheVerge for independent, biased-free news reporting on Apple products.

    /sarcasm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 9:02pm

    Re: Re:

    But I want more cowbell :/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 2:20am

    Re: Re: no

    You do know The Verve has no credibility? About us much as Fox News does

    Why not link to an article from a credible news source? Oh, you can't find one?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 3:25am

    fucking good job and about time Apple had one stuck right up it. only trouble is, it doesn't/hasn't happened enough!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Dave, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 5:16am

    Good to the nth degree.

    I rate this as the story of the year. It's about time Apple was shown the door and their arrogance and bullying reined in. They obviously think they're so big and influential that they can get away with anything. Someone's fought back. Jolly good show, chaps!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Shon Gale (profile), Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 5:17am

    From the company that stole their name and their logo. They stole the mouse and the graphics interface. Need I say more?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    slander (profile), Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 5:31am

    Oh, the iRony...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    streetlight (profile), Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 6:53am

    And the iPad name in China

    How much did Apple pay for the iPad mark in China? $100 million?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Nom du Clavier (profile), Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 9:33am

    Re: LOL

    iLol'd

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    abda, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Nov 2nd, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    I believe " telecome owner" is one of the wealthiest man on the planet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 9:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: LOL

    Don't tell us what happened to you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Urban Sundström, Nov 4th, 2012 @ 10:24am

    Cisco have IOS Internetworking Operating System

    I think you mean IOS for Cisco not iPhone. I used IOS för Cisco since the 80-s. Now Apple and Cisco use it both.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 4th, 2012 @ 9:15pm

    Re: Re: no

    What's funny is that even though this is a verge article, and therefore to be viewed with suspicion (as the other commenters noted), and it is apparently intending to defend Apple, it still makes Apple look terrible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    fenixbrood (profile), Nov 4th, 2012 @ 10:29pm

    IOS

    IOS is also used by Cisco. It stands for Cisco Internetworking Operating System. Since 1996,
    http://www.cisco.com/warp/cpropub/45/tutorial.htm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Nov 5th, 2012 @ 3:07am

    Re:

    +10 internets for you dear sir.

    I'm not an Apple hater or something but I'm GLAD to see it being owned. I hope they get owned in many, many more places and get put back on their place. Maybe then they'll focus on innovating again.

    Now if only the MAFIAA could get some hard beating like that...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 5:02am

    Re: Cisco have IOS Internetworking Operating System

    Cisco had iPhone also.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 5:05am

    New Term

    iSuit

    A legal action taken against a person or company with much less money to take away something obviously rightfully theirs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Re: Cisco have IOS Internetworking Operating System

    Yes, Apple actually licenses IOS from Cisco.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Sheogorath (profile), Feb 18th, 2013 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Re:

    @ Ninja: The MAFIAA did get their asses handed to them in court. Shame it was only satirically: http://glossynews.com/society/201301140326/man-sued-for-copyright-infringement-wins-case-2/#comments

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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