When I read the headline "Apple Loses Appeal in iPhone Naming Rights Case in Mexico," I got interested for various reasons.
The most logical and evident is my interest in Apple's iProducts. The second one, related to the first: The eternal court disputes the Cupertino-based manufacturer is frequently involved in several parts of the world due to patent lawsuits; or as we will see here, other issues that for one reason or another provide lawyers with fat checks, and mainstream media with juicy stories. And well, we rarely hear of Apple cases in Mexico.
Let me quickly summarize the case in question:
The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has lost the appeal over its use of the iPhone trademark in Mexico. According to the WSJ, the dispute started in 2009 when Apple tried to register its smartphone name in Mexico City, and it was told by the Mexican Industrial Property that the name was already taken. The next step for Apple was to file a complaint, also in 2009, against iFone with the Mexican Industrial Property (IMPI), in which Apple stated that the brand's name was phonetically too similar to its smartphone.
Es la Verdad
The Mexican telecommunications company iFone won a court battle
waged by Apple. Now, can't we all just get along, por favor?
Apple's intentions to have the iFone brand revoked on grounds of its expiration were not successful. A federal court ruled that the local firm owns and makes proper use of the brand in its country. Apple appealed, of course.
This month, after four years of dispute, Mexico's Supreme Court rejected Apple's appeal.
My impression of Mexico City-based on iFone S.A., which specializes in server-based telecommunication systems such as software that controls IP telephony, is that of an evil company that lacks its own creativity. Why do I say this? Well, despite the fact that the Mexican company appears to have registered its brand name in 2003, four years before the launch of Apple's flagship smartphone, we all know that Apple has been naming its products iSomething since 1998, when the iMac was introduced to the market.
Although the phonetics of the Apple smartphone and the Mexican company's name are the same (the English sound of ph equals that to the sound of the letter f in Spanish) the spelling is different. Spelling is what makes one word different from another. That should be enough to make the Mexican company's brand and Apple's smartphone different for registering in Mexico, or any other place for that matter.
In my opinion, iFone and iPhone are not the same, despite the phonetics, in which case we should be talking about homophones. In linguistics, two words are homophones if they are pronounced the same, but differ in meaning or spelling, or both.
So, Apple demanded iFone stop using its brand name as the similarity in phonetics could confuse consumers. Well, this confusion could only happen in Mexico anyway. I see iFone as a villain copycat. Why are they using the English i, characteristic of Apple's iProducts, and then playing a homophone game? I don't think Apple is the one to blame in this case. A little iPeace please?
The Mexican company expects compensation from Apple for the use of its brand name? Really? This is a big aha
! So it seems easy money is what they want. Well, this compensation issue got me angry. It seems that according to the Mexican law, this compensation could be up to 40 percent of Apple's iPhone sales in Mexico for violation of property rights.
Honestly, this demand of compensation sounds ridiculous, and out of place. Come on, iFone! You got the rights to the brand name. Now leave Apple and its iPhone in peace, will you?