Mexico City • Mexico's intellectual property agency said Friday it has ruled in favor of a small local firm's rights to the "iFone" name, saying that ads for Apple's iPhone have encroached on the trademark.
The Mexican firm iFone S.A. de C.V. registered the name in 2003 to cover specialized telephone service for call centers and businesses, well before Apple registered the similar iPhone moniker in 2007 for its popular mobile handset. iFone doesn't make mobile telephones.
Mexico's Institute for Intellectual Property ruled Thursday that the two names are phonetically identical, and thus there was a trademark encroachment.
The institute said several Mexican mobile phone carriers, including market leader America Movil, must pay a fine of about $104,000 and stop using "iPhone" as a promotional name for their calling plans.