Apple Under Fire In India Over iPhone Brand Name


India is one of the fastest growing market in the world at the moment, and has perhaps the fastest growing tech industry in the world, especially in the software division. India is now the focus of most tech companies, including Google, Microsoft (especially Microsoft), and Apple, all of which are adamant to take advantage of the booming industry. However, Apple is now facing a roadblock in the industry, as the company has come under fire by a local smartphone manufacturer over the iPhone brand name rights, hampering Apple’s initiative to double its smartphone sales in the region.

iVoice Enterprises, the company bringing forward the case against Apple Inc., filed the complaint at the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) based in Chennai against the iPhone maker. According to the rectification filing, iVoice Enterprises has requested the board to remove Apple’s trademark associated with the iPhone, as it exists in the Indian Trademark Registry. The filing, if given in iVoice’s favor, would disallow Apple from using the iPhone trademark in India, both registered and of a pending nature.

The clash arised due to the fact that iVoice wished to release a cheap yet high-tech smartphone in India under the brand name ‘iFon’, which, in tone and style, resembles that used by Apple’s iPhone in the country. Due to the fact that Apple has already registered the trademark in relevant authorities of the country, iVoice cannot release its brand until the Apple-owned rights are revoked and assigned to iVoice.

According to reports, Apple failed to respond to the filing made by iVoice to the IPAB, which it rectified by paying ‘late fee’ to the board in order to submit a response. Details of the response, however, have not been released by either IPAB or Apple Inc. itself.

But iVoice is highly confident the case will go in its favor, considering the fact that the company has made it publicly known its plans to further its IPR lawsuit against Apple Inc. According to an iVoice spokesperson, the company would now also be pursuing against one of Apple’s most crucial pending Trademark, the one that deals with iPhones being sold with the Apple Logo.

This poses extreme inconvenience to Apple Inc., as the company looks to the Indian market as one of its most lucrative one in the world, losing which will result in a heavy setback for the company. However, Apple Inc. seems calmer than usual in dealing with a seemingly serious matter, which, according to some experts, is probably due to the fact that companies as big as Apple Inc. face such opposition at regular intervals.

However, most experts see this as a failing battle for Apple in all probability, as the company has lost out a couple of time before over Trademark rights in international markets. Apple lost the iPhone trademark to Brazil IGP Electronica. The company lost a case against Schenzhen Proview Technology in China over the ‘iPad’ trademark, losing out $60 million in order to settle the dispute.

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