Apple Inc. (AAPL) Can’t Use ‘iPhone’ Name in Mexico: Court

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is learning that sometimes it is all about timing when it comes to brand names. And after three separate legal battles in Mexico, the company is getting used to one Spanish phrase.

Ay caramba.

Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS)

For the third time, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was told by a Mexican court that its request to cancel the patent of “iFone” owned by a Mexican telecommunications firm was denied, meaning that iFone will remain the brand in Mexico – and likely forcing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL_) to rename its iconic iPhone within Mexico’s borders. The ruling came down that the Mexico firm established is iFone trademark in 2003, four years before the iPhone was released to the public. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sued in 2009 seeking the rejection of the iFone trademark because it was too “phonetically similar” to the iPhone.

Eduardo Gallart, attorney for iFone, said, “It is the third time that Apple loses and this demonstrates the legal truth: iFone is within its full right to use its brand. All that remains is processing claims for invasion of brand. Additionally, they face a sanction of up to 20,000 days at minimum wage rate, and iFone shall be entitled to claim compensation for damage caused by the invasion of their brand. These damages may not be less than 40 per cent of the sales of iPhone services in Mexico, as provided by law.”

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been on a bit of a losing streak lately, both in the courts and in the stock market, as investors like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management have seen the most popular stock among hedge funds drop below $575 for the first time since the summer.

FINE-PRINT APOLOGY

In other Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) news, a few observers noted that Cupertino has been playing a bit of a trick with its “apology’ statement that it has been required to make to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. for its patent-infringement loss in a U.K. court last month. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL0, which claimed Samung infringed on several patents, was required to apologize to Samsung by stating that Samsung had not infringed after the court ruled as such – though the court ruled that Samsung didn’t infringe because it wasn’t as “cool” as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).

The “apology” was supposed to be on Apple’s Web site through December. It is, but it is only on the company’s U.K. site and it was created in code that placed it in small print, below the “fold” of the page and it is not seen when a browser is in normal view, according to witnesses. Observers are asked to check out apple.com/uk and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the statement.

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