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iPhone vs. iFone: Apple Loses Appeal in Mexico

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?

The Mexican telecommunications company iFone won a court battle
waged by Apple. Now, can't we all just get along, por favor ?

Proper use
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?

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88 comments on “iPhone vs. iFone: Apple Loses Appeal in Mexico

  1. Ashu001
    March 30, 2013

    Susan,

    I don't like Apple but here they have very clearly been wronged.

    Expecting 40% Compensation for Something which is most definitely not worth it is just a case of this Company IFone showing its Greed once again.

    Its the Get Something for Nothing Culture at play once again.

    Can't blame the Mexicans for it-Its the Hallmark of most of the Western World today(US,France and UK especially).

  2. Cryptoman
    March 30, 2013

    I don't see why Apple is being too anxious about this phonetically close naming dispute. It's a loss of time and money I think. iFone has not stolen Apple2s technology after all. It's a creative play on words to make the company name more memorable. How can you judge how close two words are phonetically? Are the following words too close to iPhone for a company name too?

    iPhoone

    AyePhone

    AiPhone

    AiFone

    EyePhone

    EyeFone

    Apple is being ridiculous with such funny court cases in my opinion.

  3. Nemos
    March 30, 2013

    40 percent of Apple's iPhone”  It sounds ridiculous , I totally agree that the iPhone and the ifone  are two different words and must see those as two different products.

  4. Nemos
    March 30, 2013

    It is not that simple read carefully the above “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.”

  5. HM
    March 30, 2013

    It sounds just like they copied although spellings are different. but sounds same .its important that apple takes the action immediately else many things like this will crop up internationally

  6. Taimoor Zubar
    March 31, 2013

    Expecting 40% Compensation for Something which is most definitely not worth it is just a case of this Company IFone showing its Greed once again”

    @tech4people: I agree. Although Apple is wrong in this case since the patent was already registered, a 40% fine doesn't make sense. I think what the Mexican company is doing is just to retaliate and gain public attention by making a name as someone who was successful over Apple in the patent war.

  7. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, thanks. 

    Exactly, this is not a matter of liking Apple or not. It's a matter of how a company wants to get easy money from Apple (40 percent?!). And yes, you are right in saying it's greed of the Mexican company. You know, the whole thing smelled like a rat to me at some point. Like a trap. Of course I may be wrong. It was just a feeling, a perception. 

    “It's the Get Something for Nothing Culture at play once again.” 

    Yes. But I don't agree that this is the culture in every western country. It's not the culture in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. Well, maybe just another reason why I choose to live in this part of the world.

    Why France? 

    -Susan

  8. Taimoor Zubar
    March 31, 2013

    @cryptoman: I think Apple has the right to be worried. The name might be spelled differently but people go for verbal communication more than written one. It would create a mess for Apple if some other company with the same pronunciation exists. If Apple advertises, the other company gets a publicity for nothing because of this. Since Apple was not the first company to enter the Mexican market with the same pronunciation, I'm not saying they're right – but they do need to be worried.

  9. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Cryptoman, 

    It's not only about Apple being anxious about the phonetics. It's about why a company (iFone) would choose to brand itself choosing something significantly well known like iPhone, or any iThing. As I said, Apple has been having iThings since the iMac, long before the iFone company existed.

    Again, Apple is not the one to blame in this case. 

    Some of your examples don't match iPhone phonetically. 

    What do you think about the iFone company demanding Apple to pay 40 percent of the sales of iPhone in Mexico to them?

    If I were Apple, I would stop iPhone sales in Mexico immediately.

    If Apple doesn't take any action like this, similar problems will start to bloom in other countries, and maybe with similar demands to Apple. Now, this would be serious.

    -Susan 

  10. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, 

    About the getting something for nothing culture, I was just now remembering an experience I had in Mexico during the time I was living there.

    I lived in Mexico City and in several states, among them I spent some time in Monterrey. There, I was a victim of more than one cases of people trying to get something from me for nothing. 

    The first one was paying the rent and deposit for a place from where I didn't get the key when I paid because the landlord said he had to ask for the key to the previous tenant. He said he would give me the key the day I move in. A friend drove me there on the moving day, just to find out that the landlord, who lived next door, pretended to not knowing me. he said he didn't remember that I paid him for the place, or that I had been there. He said the receipt I had for the payment was not official, and that I could have written it. However, the place was available, if I wanted to rent it. 

    I didn't go to the police, and that was a mistake. So I had to stay with my friend for some days until finding another place. I had been cheated. 

    I found a place where a woman was renting a room in her big house. I took it. To make the story short, after some time his son -who lived elsewhere- happened to had my passport with him. He demanded me to pay him to get my passport back. He also thretened me when I said I was going to go to the police. I was working in Mexico, and had my permits in order. But this guy scared me, and I just paid to get my passport back, and left the place.

    With this I want to say that according to my personal experience, Mexico is a place where people and companies are used to get money for nothing.

    -Susan 

  11. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Nemos, 

    As I said to Ashish in a comment below, if I were Apple, I would stop selling iPhones in Mexico. iFone is the company, not the product. 

    -Susan

  12. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HM, 

    “it's important that apple takes the action immediately else many things like this will crop up internationally “

    Exactly! What you have said here is a very important point. If Apple decides to keep selling iPhones in Mexico, paying the ridiculously 40 percent of its sales others will start copying the Mexican compnay's game.

    Apple should stop selling iPhones in Mexico for its own good. 

    -Susan

  13. ITempire
    March 31, 2013

    IMO, patent laws should have an exception of homophones as in iphone and ifone should be treated separately. Apple should not have initiated legal action against iFone as it got its product registered before iphone in Mexico. Meanwhile Mexican laws should allow both companies to sell their products while ignoring the homophones issue. 

    Also, demanding compensation of 40% of turnover doesn't makes sense either. Courts shouldn't allow such a demand just because products have similar names (and not same names).

  14. ITempire
    March 31, 2013

    @ HM

    You concern about international problems that can arise is justified but Apple is now selling its products everywhere and if a problem had to arise, it would have arisen uptil now and Apple would be fighting its battles. May be we are not aware of all the cases; we just got to know about this Mexican issue because of the blog.

  15. ITempire
    March 31, 2013

    @ Susan

    If I were Apple, I would stop iPhone sales in Mexico immediately. “

    I think it is the Mexican courts that are at fault over here if they have passed an order against Apple to pay iFone the compensation it is demanding. If such an order is vacated then Apple should continue selling in Mexico however with this compensation in place, Apple will never continue selling and will do as you say.

  16. Houngbo_Hospice
    March 31, 2013

    “So, Apple demanded iFone stop using its brand name as the similarity in phonetics could confuse consumers.”

    The similarity between the two words should not be considered only at the surface level, but a deeper pragmatic interpretation (when both words are taken in context) does suggest that the mexican brand didn't choose that name by accident. 

  17. Houngbo_Hospice
    March 31, 2013

    “And yes, you are right in saying it's greed of the Mexican company.”

    It may sound greedy, but it seems like almost all companies do that nowadays- cheating one another and cheating customers.

  18. HM
    March 31, 2013

    Stopping sales in Mexico would be a strong decision and apple would not do that they will handle legally and Professionally

  19. Houngbo_Hospice
    March 31, 2013

    WaqasAltaf

    “IMO, patent laws should have an exception of homophones as in iphone and ifone should be treated separately.”

    I wish somebody were listening or reading you. It is clear that the debate will not end there, but such cases are very rare, aren't they?

  20. Houngbo_Hospice
    March 31, 2013

    @SF,

    That was a very unfortunate experience you had in that country. I believe that not all mexicans are crooked or bad people, and you just happened to be in the wrong places. But you are right, if I went though that same troubles , I may have the same impression about the country.

  21. ITempire
    March 31, 2013

    @ HH

    There are many cases where products' names resemble each other but in case of iPhone and iFone, the resemblance is just too much and it is likely to cause a concern for both the companies marketing their products. That is why the companies would have decide to nudge each other out of the competition.

  22. HM
    March 31, 2013

    Ofcourse Mexico is great place and so are the people there but laws are not that strict you got to be careful of kind of company you get into

  23. Wale Bakare
    March 31, 2013

    >>Apple has been naming its products iSomething since 1998, when the iMac was introduced to the market.<<

    That's where the problem is. I think, the patent of something by Apple left a void for exploitation for copycats. 

  24. Houngbo_Hospice
    March 31, 2013

    “That is why the companies would have decide to nudge each other out of the competition.”

    You are right, it does look like a competitive strategy and lawyers of both companies know well how to handle that. But in the end, the ruling also depends on the country's laws and values.

  25. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    Wow!

    You most certainly seem to have had a Hard-time in Mexico!!!

    Let me just say that its not that bad today.

    Especially in Mexico City and the Bigger Cities.

    Professionalism takes time;but also remember the Good Ol' Saying

    “A fool and his Money are soon Parted”.

    Hopefully you learnt a lot of valuable life lessons from your experiences in Mexico!

    Regards

    Ashish.

     

  26. Houngbo_Hospice
    March 31, 2013

    @Wale,

    Apple should not be given the monopoly of the “iSomething” name, because the alphabets are for everyone to use freely. But in case of full name resemblance, company have the right to sue their competitors over any copycat attempt.

  27. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    Scandinavia is a Mis-fit in Europe!

    Lol!!!

    The place is just perfect and everything works very,very well.

    As far as France is concerned;Just look at the Work-Culture and especially the affliction of Unions for Strikes(whenever it suits them).

    Its beyond Pathetic.

    No wonder France is falling very sharply in the Global Competitiveness stakes.

     

  28. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Taimoor,

    As I said Previously I am not a Fan of Apple-So I don't feel Sorry for them to see Lawyers punish in the same way as they try to Punish Competitors today.

    Still a 40% Levy is too much and if Mexico has an Appeals Court,I am sure Apple will appeal against this Verdit.

  29. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Waqas, 

    “You concern about international problems that can arise is justified but Apple is now selling its products everywhere and if a problem had to arise, it would have arisen uptil now and Apple would be fighting its battles. May be we are not aware of all the cases; we just got to know about this Mexican issue because of the blog.”

    Good thinking, Waqas. All that what you said it super important. What if we are not aware of all the cases? I was wondering about that, too. This is triggering my curiosity for investigating more on other possible cases. :/ 

    -Susan

  30. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    You read this Judgement from the US Patent System?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21987831

    Fascinating to see how Apple still tries to simply Protect their Products by virtue of excessive Patents/Lawyers(rather than Innovation today).

    Regards

    Ashish.

  31. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Waqas, 

    “I think it is the Mexican courts that are at fault over here if they have passed an order against Apple to pay iFone the compensation it is demanding. If such an order is vacated then Apple should continue selling in Mexico however with this compensation in place, Apple will never continue selling and will do as you say.”

    Exactly. I totally agree with you. I will follow this case, and bring an update. Let's see how it continues.

    Apple lost the appeal just a few days ago. This doesn't mean it's the end. I would be very, very surprised if Apple keeps silent about the 40 percent payment demand on its iPhone sales. It simply can't happen. 

    -Susan

  32. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HH, 

    “The similarity between the two words should not be considered only at the surface level, but a deeper pragmatic interpretation (when both words are taken in context) does suggest that the mexican brand didn't choose that name by accident.”

    Good thinking, HH! I completely agree.

    I saw an advertisement where they were even using Jony Ive's famous quote about the iPhone 5, translated into Spanish of course, but can they really do that? Then I couldn't find the link anymore when I wanted to include that in the blog.

    -Susan 

  33. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HH, 

    “It may sound greedy, but it seems like almost all companies do that nowadays- cheating one another and cheating customers.”

    But do we have to accept that just because almost all companies behave without a glimpse of ethics? With certainty I refuse to accept it. 

    -Susan

  34. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HM, 

    “Stopping sales in Mexico would be a strong decision and apple would not do that they will handle legally and Professionally”

    Of course. But if only 60 percent of the iPhone sales in Mexico does not represent the ROI Apple expect, stopping sales might be the only way out. What other options can you think of? 

    -Susan

  35. Himanshugupta
    March 31, 2013

    This could be a headache for Apple as the product names for Apple are too limited and phony companies can register the product names in advance.

  36. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    I think it would be very arrogant (and presumptous) of us to Say something against the Courts System in any Independent and Soverign Country.

    If they did pass such and such a judgement they must have seen some valid reasoning behind it.

    The Courts system in Mexico may not be as Independent as in US,Europe,Brazil, Chile or India for that matter but its still reasonably Independent from the Executive Branch and also not very Corrupt.

    What I do see happening now is if Apple does lose the Case Decisively they will First Pull out all their Products out of Mexico[Not just the Iphone];simply because Tax Authorities are very likely to go after other Products in Apple's portfolio to realize the Revenue expected here.

    After they pull out entirely;they are likely to file a case against this Judgement in both New York as well as the ICJ(in the Hague).

    The end result is Gonna be Two Things.

    1) Tax Authorities in Mexico will Lose out on Valuable Revenue(as Apple Products now start coming in through the Grey Channel instead)

    and

    2)Lawyers are Gonna Keep Making  BoatLoads of Money.

    Lol!!!

     

    Regards

    Ashish.

  37. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    I agree!

    I strongly expect Apple to take the Hardline Approach here(which I outlined the previous Post).

    The Current Market in Mexico is very small and they can risk losing it temporarily rather than setting the Wrong precedent for Freeloaders everywhere!!!

    Regards

    Ashish.

  38. Cryptoman
    March 31, 2013

    @Susan I do understand that iFone is trying to be cheeky here by choosing such a close name. Of course it is trying to catch the wind of Apple for boosting its sales. But what I do not get is does the technology of iFone as close to Apple's as the name? Would an iPhone customer buy and iFone by mistake or something? What is this anxiety for at the end of the day? Asking Apple 40% of its sales as penalty is a ridiculous argument. It will never fly. If this is not overruled by the Mexican courts, it will be very bad publicity for the country globally. I don't think this risk is worth taking as a nation for just pleasing a crafty company like iFone.

  39. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HH, 

    Yes, a very unfortunate experience, indeed. I was too trustful. Or I simply had bad luck meeting the wrong people. No, of course not all in Mexico are crooked or bad people. I have also met very nice, good people. I also have some good friends in Mexico.

    One thing I can assure you, those things don't happen around here. The level of corruption here is close to non-existent. 

    Sometimes you only understand the situations and experiences you went through after some time, when you put all the pieces of your life together. I believe that is what is happening now. I hadn't remembered about those stories in Monterrey for a long time. They came back to my mind just today after something Ashish said in his comment. 

    -Susan

  40. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HM, 

    “Ofcourse Mexico is great place and so are the people there but laws are not that strict you got to be careful of kind of company you get into”

    I learned that the hard way. In my case, if this is what you are referring to, those people were not people I chose as company. They were landlords renting places, and you really can't tell what will it happen when you rent a place from such people.

    At least no one killed me, raped me or anything of the kind. It's hard to be an independent woman on her own in Mexico, at least that's another thing I learned. 

    Yes, you are right about the laws. Also, one thing a friend there told me at the time was that is was close to pointless to go to the police, as being a foreigner I was never going to be right, for one reason or another. So I didn't so anything. I think today I would not listen to that kind of advise. But well, I have become stronger since then, too. 

    Maybe the laws in business are just the same. And as Apple is a foreign company, and a “gringo” company, it could have influenced in losing the appeal. This is just a thought that stept into my mind as possibility. 

    -Susan 

  41. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Wale, 

    “I think, the patent of something by Apple left a void for exploitation for copycats.” 

    Ahh, you might be right!

    Maybe there should be a revision, especially on the “i” part of the Apple products.

    I think it's important to remember the “i” products started in 1998, and there was no other product or company using the “i”. If we are going to be strict, we should start from there, right?

    -Susan 

  42. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HH, 

    “But in the end, the ruling also depends on the country's laws and values.”

    That's true. I just had a similar thought in the comment below. I am afraid Apple might be victim of just that in this case. 

    -Susan

  43. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    “A fool and his Money are soon Parted”

    Ashish, Ashish, are you calling me a fool? 😀 You have found the perfect quote for those experiences. But shhh, don't tell anybody. Oh, if I would tell you some other experiences I had in Mexico! I am seriously thinking I have to write a book with all those stories. Maybe “fiction” short stories. 

    Yes, I learned valuable life lessons, indeed. Then I left to Guadalajara, and then to Mexico City, where I had been before Monterrey, too. Later, in Queretaro, I met some very nice people. In Queretaro I had a very good landlady, and her son was super nice, too. They gave me a pair of earrings that I still have as present when I left. Nice people.

    There was also a nice café across the street, called Caramba Café, with lovely owners and employees, too. I was there every day. They made a deliocious hot chocolate with marshmallows, and super delicious big blueberry muffins. 🙂  So I guess things balanced a bit in that sense. 

    -Susan 

     

  44. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    Yes.

    Life's always like that.

    The Positives and The Negatives tend to Balance things out over the Long Run.

    Do write about your experiences in Mexico and publish it online!!!

    I know many Writers who have succeeded in making Lot of Money this way.

    Go For it!!!

    Regards

    Ashish.

  45. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Thanks, Ashish!

    And thanks for the encouragement. 🙂 Maybe it's a good way to get some of the lost money with satisfaction. Something like a good act of karma? 

    “The Positives and The Negatives tend to Balance things out over the Long Run.”

    This is so important to remember. 

    -Susan

  46. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    HH, 

    I tend to agree with Wale about the iSomething thing. Apple only names its products iSomething. This is something characteristic from Apple, it belongs to the company. iBelieve. 🙂

    -Susan

  47. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    Yes.

    For anyone who has seen a lot of Hardship in Life this is the Fundamental Guiding Feature to be constantly Positive and Keep working Hard.

    Otherwise there is no Hope.

    Regards

    Ashish.

  48. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, 

    “Scandinavia is a Mis-fit in Europe! 

    The place is just perfect and everything works very,very well.”  

    Oh, yes, that's true. 🙂 That's why I like this part of the world so much. 

    About France, I see. What do you think about the Netherlands and Belgium?

    -Susan 

  49. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, 

    “For anyone who has seen a lot of Hardship in Life this is the Fundamental Guiding Feature to be constantly Positive and Keep working Hard.”

    Otherwise there is no Hope.

    Yes. True. And then I have this quote that is mine: There is always hope when there is still life. It works well as motivator when not so positive things happen.

    -Susan

  50. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, 

    “You read this Judgement from the US Patent System?”

    Thanks for that link. No, I hadn't read about it. I wonder if Apple will change the name of the iPad Mini. 

    -Susan

  51. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    Very,very well said.

    See what did I tell you?

    You should write your own book now!!!

     

  52. prabhakar_deosthali
    March 31, 2013

    For Apple lawyers, I have a few sugesstions to keep them busy fighting cases for Apple.

     

    1. A company  called iBall  is marketing its products with a prefix i

    2. I live in an apartment complex whose name is iLife

     

     

  53. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    No I doubt it.

    Look at their Massive Battery Of Lawyers they will keep on Bulldozing the Government and the Bueracracy until the Outcome comes out Favorable to them!!!

    Regards

    Ashish.

  54. Ashu001
    March 31, 2013

    Susan,

    Belgium is in the same space as France today[See how fast and aggressively the Manufacturing Space including Automobiles is shrinking in Belgium today];Frankly if it were'nt for the EU Headquarters in Brussels ;Belgium would be Struggling BIGTIME today.

    Holland fits in well with Germany (as an Export Powerhouse) who have the potential and ability to re-invent themselves according to Various Global Market Needs.

    Regards

    Ashish.

     

  55. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Himanshugupta, 

    “This could be a headache for Apple as the product names for Apple are too limited “

    Exactly. That's why I was thinking that if Apple hasn't done anything to protect the “i” part of the products from being used by others they should do it now, before more companies start having iNames, or iProducts.

    -Susan

  56. _hm
    March 31, 2013

    I can suggest simpler solution to Apple. Purchase ifone in Mexico, change its name without i inside it and resale it to someone. Apple needs to pay only the difference of price between purchase and sale.

    If Apple do not do it, some other may do same thing and may create more future problem for Apple.

     

  57. Mr. Roques
    March 31, 2013

    Well, is iFone to blame? When was it registered? If they were first, they can ask for a share of the revenue. Its similar to the patent war we are going through.

  58. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Mr.R, 

    iFone is not a product, but the name of the company. Now you see how confusing it is. iFone demands 40 percent from Apple's iPhone sales in Mexico. Do you think this is fair? 

    -Susan

  59. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Mr.R, 

    iFone is not a product, but the name of the company. Now you see how confusing it is. iFone demands 40 percent from Apple's iPhone sales in Mexico. Do you think this is fair? 

    -Susan

  60. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    _hm, 

    I don't quite understand what you suggest. iFone is not a product, it's the name of a company. 

    However, depending on how this case is solved it may or may not allow other companies to start demanding easy money from Apple.

    -Susan

  61. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Thanks, Ashish. 

    I am thinking of spending some months in the Netherlands, and the other countries around, and look for local tech stories. 

    -Susan

  62. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, 

    Yes, and it would be difficult for consumers to start calling the iPad Mini something else. 

    -Susan

  63. Susan Fourtané
    March 31, 2013

    Ashish, 

    “What I do see happening now is if Apple does lose the Case Decisively they will First Pull out all their Products out of Mexico[Not just the Iphone];simply because Tax Authorities are very likely to go after other Products in Apple's portfolio to realize the Revenue expected here.

    After they pull out entirely;they are likely to file a case against this Judgement in both New York as well as the ICJ(in the Hague).”

    That sounds like a good thing Apple could do. 

    -Susan

  64. Susan Fourtané
    April 1, 2013

    Cryptoman, 

    iFone is not a product, it's a telecommunications company. iFone is the name of the company. Here is the link to their Website: http://www.ifone.com.mx/

    -Susan

  65. Susan Fourtané
    April 1, 2013

    Ashish, 

    Look, from the iFone Website: Copyright © 2003-2006 iFone, S.A. de C.V. 

    2006? And remember what I wrote? –>   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.

    What do you make of this?

    -Susan 

  66. Cryptoman
    April 1, 2013

    @Susan

    Well, in that case the argument of iFone becomes even weaker in my opinion. They are basically seeking compensation because the “product” of a big company is “phonetically” similar to their company name. How bizarre!

    Thank you for the link to iFone Susan. I followed it and read a little bit about iFone with my limited Spanish. The company has been in operation since 1998, which is well before iPhone was in existence. According to Wikipedia, the first iPhone was announced on 9 January 2007 and it was introduced in the USA on 29 January 2007. This means iFone has been in operation for 9 years before the world started to see the word “iPhone”. Therefore, this little detail does give iFone a solid foothold in this case.

    A small but important detail about iFone's website is that it is only in Spanish. The company has not published an English version at all. This tells me that the company is very focused on the Latin American market, which is the only source of their income. Therefore, iFone is very unlikely to take this court case lightly. This explains why they are trying to get 40% of Apple's profits in that region.

    I now understand that under the surface, this case seems to be quite complicated. I wonder what the Mexican courts will say about this.

  67. Ashu001
    April 2, 2013

    Susan,

    Best of Luck!

    But I don't know how much more you would learn in The Netherlands today.

    If I had to suggest Places to see how Technology is changing things I would Suggest either Kenya ,India or China today.

    The Change is mind-boggling here.

    Here's an awesome Prize Winning TED Video by an educational researcher I cam across yesterday.

    http://www.ted. com/talks/ sugata_mitra_ build_a_school_ in_the_cloud. html

    Moral of the Story is this-Give Kids the Tools they need to learn and THEY WILL LEARN!!!

    Phenomenal watch!

     

    Regards

    Ashish.

  68. Ashu001
    April 2, 2013

    Susan,

    How does the IPADm Sound???

    Quite cool and Catchy!

  69. Ashu001
    April 2, 2013

    Susan,

    The Gigantic Lawyer Army that Apple has employed all over the World needs to do Something to earn their Salaries right???

    Lol!!!

  70. Ashu001
    April 2, 2013

    Susan,

    I recommend you do some Digging here.

    Who are the Major People behind iFONE in Mexico?

    Are they related to the Judges who passed this Settlement?

    Are they related to the Ruling Establishment in Mexico?

    Its time for you to use your Journalistic Instincts here.

    Go for it!!!

     

  71. Daryl
    April 2, 2013

     Sorry Apple,  if you cannot compete in the market place with lower cost and better mfg technology… tough!!!  You want to beat everyone else into the canard that you own every word beginning with the letter “i”.  What arrogance…., but what do you expect from a left coast company that has to use lawyers to compete.  You have seen your peak and now its time for your nimble competitors to take their right-full place in the market place. 

  72. William K.
    April 2, 2013

    Why not just add an “X” in front  and make it a HI-Phone? consider the popular Mexico city markets OXXO, pronounced Oh-Ha-Ka. Just think how neat the logo could look, and the fact that it is getting quite boring with everybody sticking that lower case “i” in front of just about everything. Why waste time, just switch, and of course, another option would be to do like microsoft and simply purchase the company with the troublesome name, and then take it out back and kill it. I am not recommending that, though.

    One other thought, which is the iFone company does not even make cell phones, so what is the problem.

  73. t.alex
    April 2, 2013

    Perhaps Apple should just partner with iFone for a win-win relationship.

  74. Wale Bakare
    April 3, 2013

    @tech4people, by the way –  most technology experts thinking Kenya is leading technology in Africa which is not true, but Rwanda and Ghana are prototyping African technological breakthrough and innovations. Even now,  Nigeria is increasing in abundance her number of software gurus and technologists more than some of developed nations with higher degrees not in 1st.  

    Rwanda gov has embarked on massive fiber optical cable projects as well as other infrastructure. http://www.cmu.edu/rwanda/prospective-students/about-rwanda.html

  75. Susan Fourtané
    April 3, 2013

    Lol, t.alex. 😀 And how do you envision that win-win partnership relationship working? 

    -Susan

  76. Susan Fourtané
    April 3, 2013

    Wale, 

    “Rwanda gov has embarked on massive fiber optical cable projects as well as other infrastructure. http://www.cmu.edu/rwanda/prospective-students/about-rwanda.htm”

    That's super interesting and good. Thanks for the link. Speaking of Ghana, that'sa land where several tablet projects in schools have been happening for some time now. 

    -Susan

  77. Susan Fourtané
    April 3, 2013

    William K., 

    How OXXO becomes “Oh-Ha-Ka”? OXXO is more like Ox-So. 😛 

    Yes, it's becoming iBoring. 

    “another option would be to do like microsoft and simply purchase the company with the troublesome name, and then take it out back and kill it. I am not recommending that, though.”

    Super good point. I was thinking about Microsoft today. I was trying to remember when and how a similar case was solved. What Microsoft did doesn't sound bad to me, though. Do you remember how much Microsoft paid for the troublesome company?

    “One other thought, which is the iFone company does not even make cell phones, so what is the problem.” 

    Exactly, iFone doesn't make cell phones. The whole problem is around the iName, and all the fishy story around the case. 

    -Susan

  78. Susan Fourtané
    April 3, 2013

    Ashish,

    I was thinking about similar things. Great questions! 

    -Susan  

  79. Susan Fourtané
    April 3, 2013

    Taimoor, 

    “It would create a mess for Apple if some other company with the same pronunciation exists. If Apple advertises, the other company gets a publicity for nothing because of this. “

    Yes. Good point. That's something to worry about for any company. 

    -Susan

  80. Ashu001
    April 3, 2013

    Wale,

    As a Matter of Fact you are absolutely right here.

    Rwanada is definitely spearheading the IT Revolution in Africa today;But I was referring to it from the Point of View of Susan[She's a White Expat Woman who speaks only English and Some European Languages].

    In such a sceanario it makes more sense for her to go to places where things are Reasonably Safe , they speak Reasonably Good English and most Administrative Systems work as well as Being at the Forefront of Technological Change in Africa.

    And Kenya fits the Bill here.

    I would'nt recommend her going to Nigeria because European Expats routinely Get Kidnapped for Money there.

     

  81. cookiejar
    April 3, 2013

    The author seems to be saying that might makes right. 

    Apple, the mightiest U.S. corporation, through its own neglect failed to register iPhone before a Mexican company registered iFone.  How do you figure the mighty Apple has any ethical right to crush the smaller Mexican company?

    Apple Computer had trouble registering its own name in the first place, as the Beetles (at the time said to be bigger than Jesus Christ) objected as their music property and record company was registered as Apple, years before Jobs had the idea, no doubt looking at a Beetles' album cover.  But of course Apple scoffed at the idea that it would ever be in the music business and promised it wouldn't go there.  iTunes broke that promise and for years no Beetles music appeared on iTunes.  But in the end, nobody can afford to fight Apple in U.S. courts and the Beetles surrendered.

    It can be argued that Apple stole the i prefex from intel, who always uses the lower case i for its labels.

    Apple steals disks from Zerox Park and brings out the MacIntosh computer, stealing Zerox's graphics interface, mouse and all and sicks its lawyers on anyone who dares in any way imitate their stolen ideas. 

    Apple goes after Samsung in a courtroom a few blocks from Apple headquarters and manages to get a jury head who had close contacts with Apple and all the jurors from Silicon Valley.  Apple even had the gall to go after Samsung for rounded corners, which only an idiot would agree is an Apple original concept.

    Apple's behavior in the market is a shining example of “Ugly American”.

  82. t.alex
    April 3, 2013

    Susan, well perhaps Apple should engage iFone to sell iPhone as well 🙂

     

  83. William K.
    April 3, 2013

    OXXO sounds the way it does because, at least in Mexico, the first X is pronounced “HAH”, while the second X has a “k” sound, and the ending O is more like an “A”. Far less confusing than our USA version of :english”, and it makes a great logo for a grocery store. 

    Probably someone who is native to that area can give you a more detailed explanation, but that is the one that I got when I learned “Mexican” for business a few years back.

  84. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

    Apple, the mightiest U.S. corporation, through its own neglect failed to register iPhone before a Mexican company registered iFone

    @cookiejar, thanks for sharing this info. Any particular reason why Apple failed to register iPhone before a Mexican company registered iFone ? Was it because iPhone totally underestimated potential of Mexican market and just neglected it ?

  85. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

    Rwanda gov has embarked on massive fiber optical cable projects as well as other infrastructure. 

    @Wale, thanks for sharing this info. Its great to know that government across Africa are investing heavily on infrastructure. I am sure we will see lot more innovation happening in African because of such initiatives taken by the local governments. 

  86. SunitaT
    April 7, 2013

    Perhaps Apple should just partner with iFone for a win-win relationship.

    @t.alex, that is not a bad idea, but iFone is already demanding    40 percent of Apple's iPhone sales in Mexico for violation of property rights which is very huge. I dont think Apple will agree to share its profit with any other company.

  87. cookiejar
    April 7, 2013

    Apple no doubt has a flotilla of lawyers working hard to bash their competitors as well as defend Apple's trademarks. 

    It doesn't take a law degree to figure out that one needs to trademark a product name well before it is introduced.  If someone registers a name well before you, making your name unregisterable, well you're out of luck. It's no more stealing than if someone buys a house you've had your eye on before you get around to it.  It's called the free market. 

    Don't get confused by the corporate sector's tendency to use “the free market” as a euphemism for monopoly.

    So just like Apple, iFone has the right to charge what the market will bear for it's intellectual property, which it has legally registered.  What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

  88. ITempire
    April 13, 2013

    @ Susan

    Losing in appeal means no legal grounds are left for Apple to fight on. One way I could think of is that Apple uses its lobbying power and convinces the Mexican government regarding the issue. Government can then pursue the matter in supreme court and relieve Apple from the hardships.

    Will be waiting for an update.

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