updated 06:50 pm EDT, Fri October 12, 2007
Canada iPhone trademark
Comwave Telecoom Inc, a Toronto based company, is claiming trademark rights to the name "iPhone" in Canada -- a dispute that could further delay the introduction of Apple's mobile device there. Comwave is a company that markets a collection of voice-over-internet services and products under the name iPhone. The firm has filed a complaint with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) over Apple's trademark application for the same moniker. The president of Comwave, Yuval Barzakay, told CBC News that sharing the trademark would "not be practically possible [...] because of the reach and extent of Apple's brand marketing," adding "The force they put into marketing would quickly make the brand Apple's and not ours. It's a case of hijacking the brand. If I asked people on the street who owns the iPhone trademark in Canada, they'd all say Apple. And their product isn't even in the market. So co-existence is not possible."
Apple filed a trademark application for the name iPhone relating to a digital electronic device in October 2004. The Comwave complaint was filed in 2005, with the company claiming it had been using the name for its products since June 2004 -- just three months earlier.
Barzakay did, however, say he's open to Apple purchasing the trademark rights, saying "Our position is Apple has one of two choices: they can either walk away from the trademark and let us keep the iPhone name here in Canada, or they can buy the brand from us."
The trademark dispute is secondary to Apple's primary obstacle preventing an iPhone launch in Canada: the lack of a mobile carrier agreement. Rogers is widely expected to carry the device, but no formal announcement has been made.
In Late August, Puremobile, a firm that specializes in selling iPhones not available for sale in Canada, announced plans to peddle unlocked iPhones in that will work on the Rogers Wireless network, apparently with the full, welcome blessing of the latter. Puremobile seems to have already tested demonstration unlocked phones on the Canadian networks, claiming that all of the features work on Fido, with the exception of visual voice mail.