Apple Inc. (AAPL) is acquitted in Mexican ‘iFone’ lawsuit

Posted Jun 6, 2014

The Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) reported on Thursday that it has cleared Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) of wrongdoing in a trademark lawsuit involving iPhone’s infringement of a local telecommunications company marketing the “iFone” brand.

In its decision, the IMPI found the iPhone mark as infringing on Mexico’s iFone trademark, but only as it applied to telecommunications services. The Mexican IP authority is imposing a fine on local cellular providers that carry the iPhone like Telcel, Iusacell, and Movistar. These same companies have 15 days to remove iPhone branding from all advertising materials.

Apple walked away unscathed as iFone’s case targeted telecommunications companies using the iPhone name as a branding asset. Because Apple does not operate its own wireless network and the iFone does not manufacture physical product, Apple was out of the lawsuit’s scope.

In March 2013, Mexico’s Supreme Court denied an Apple bid to overturn a prior ruling that found against the company’s sole ownership of “iPhone” rights. iFone can prepare civil suits to recover damages associated with the telecommunication company’s use of the iPhone mark. The Mexican iPhone carriers can appeal the IMPI ruling to the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice.