updated 05:58 pm EDT, Fri March 15, 2013
Ruling does not prohibit iPhone sales, applies to telecommunications services
A ruling handed down by the Mexican Supreme Court has upheld November's lower court decision that Apple cannot register the "iPhone" trademark in the country for marketing telecommunications services. In its decision, the court sided with a native Mexican company that runs a small call center under the name iFone SA. The company expects the ruling to enhance a trademark infringement suit in which it is seeking damages against the Cupertino manufacturer and three carriers of the smartphone.
Apple retains the right to sell the iPhone in Mexico, and holds two trademarks for the name. This court battle pertains to only telecommunications services, and not the device itself. Apple attempted to file a telecommunications patent in 2009, and was blocked by the Mexican Industrial Property Institute.
Apple sued to have the name revoked on grounds that it had expired, but the court found that iFone SA was properly using the trademark. The firm's corporate lawyer, Eduardo Gallastegui, noted after the ruling that the decision frees the company to continue with its claims, and seek damages from Apple.
"Our main interest is to defend our brand," Gallastegui said. "Apple started the controversy, their first step was to file a lawsuit, they didn't previously approach the company." Mexican law allows the company to seek up to 40 percent of sales violating property rights.