Apple loses trademark battle with Mexico's iFone

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple has reportedly failed in an attempt to prevent a Mexican company  from trading under its own name - despite the fact that iFone filed for a trademark four years before the iPhone was trademarked.

The row started back in 2009, two years after the iPhone was launched in Mexico, when iFone sued Apple. It had been trading under the iFone name since 2002, registering it as a trademark the following year.

However, rather than coming to an agreement, Apple retaliated with a lawsuit of its own, attempting to claim the name for itself.

Now, according to El Universal, a court has denied Apple's claims, saying that iFone holds the relevant trademark for telecommunication services.

This doesn't in itself stop Apple selling the iPhone in the country - and, indeed, Apple is believed to hold a valid trademark for the iPhone name when applied to a device rather than a service. The iPhone 5 went on sale in Mexico last  Friday, through several local carriers.

However, the decision obviously raises the chances of iFone being successful in its own lawsuit against Apple. This could open the way for compensation; and iFone's lawyer, Eduardo Gallástegui, says that could amount to as much as 40 percent of iPhone profits in the country.

Apple's always been very aggressive in pursuing trademarks - sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

In the past, it's attempted to trademark 'multi-touch' and 'App Store', as well as, shall we say, i-more-or-less-anything. Earlier this year, though, it was forced to settle with Chinese company Proview, paying $60 million for the right to use the iPad name in China.