updated 11:45 pm EST, Thu December 27, 2012
Gradiente now selling cheap Android handset with 'iPhone' name
Gradiente SA, a company selling an out-of-date and inexpensive Android knockoff of the iPhone with the same brand name has indicated it is willing to deal with Apple if the company wants to license the iPhone name back from them. The company filed for and won the right to the name "iPhone" in Brazil in 2008 and has "exclusive" rights to use the name through 2018, despite the fact that Apple is already selling the iPhone in Brazil.
The confusion will eventually have to be settled in court unless the two companies can come to some arrangement. The head of Brazillian telecommunications consultancy Teleco is quoted in a report from the Associated Press as saying that Apple paying Gradiente for use of the name is the most "likely scenario" because Apple doesn't want to risk "[having] to stop selling its product in Brazil."
Apple has not made any official comment on the matter. Gradiente President Eugenio Staub has said that Apple has not yet contacted his company, even though it is aware that "we were given the right to use the iPhone brand." The Gradiente "iPhone" is a basic device selling for around $300US, with Android 2.3 and an appearance not dissimilar to Apple's iPhone -- somewhere between a Samsung clone and a generic Android phone.
When asked why the company did not actually produce a smartphone with the name until this year -- four years after it won the rights, and 12 years after it first filed for the name -- Staub claimed the company's priority had been to "conclude a corporate restructuring process that ended earlier this year." The company warned that it will "adopt all the measures used by companies around the world to preserve its intellectual property rights," a clear hint to Apple that it should come to the negotiating table.