IPhone Owner in Brazil ‘Open’ to Selling Rights to Name

The owner of the iPhone trademark in Brazil, IGB Eletronica SA, said it would consider selling the naming rights to Apple Inc.

“We’re open to a dialogue for anything, anytime,” Eugenio Emilio Staub, chairman of IGB, said in an interview in Sao Paulo, adding that the company hasn’t been contacted by Apple. “We’re not radicals.”

IGB’s Gradiente brand filed to register the trademark in 2000 and was awarded the rights in 2008. While Apple has sold its globally known mobile phone in Brazil for several years, Gradiente started selling its iPhone in December.

Folha de S.Paulo newspaper reported today that the institute responsible for granting trademarks in Brazil confirmed that the exclusive rights to the name for mobile phones still belong to Gradiente, without saying where it got the information. The decision, originally set to be published today, will be announced on Feb. 13. Staub said he hasn’t been informed of any decisions regarding the trademark.

Marcelo Chimento, the spokesman for the institute known as INPI, in a telephone interview confirmed that a ruling had been made, though he declined to disclose the decision. He said it’s “difficult” to grant approval to Apple’s request to use the trademark.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling had no comment.

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