Apple is about to be stripped of the iPhone trademark in Brazil, following a decision by the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property.
Reuters reports that Gradiente Eletronica registered the iPhone brand in 2000, seven years before Apple released its first iPhone.
Gradiente Eletronica released its most recent line-up of iPhones last December, with its version running Android.
The final decision will be handed down on February 13.
The Brazilian market is one of the world’s largest mobile phone markets, with a rapidly growing smartphone segment, predominantly focused on low-end handsets.
However, as SmartCompany reported in December, the country remains a weak market for Apple. Recent Kantar-ComTech figures show iOS has slipped from 3.2% marketshare a year ago to just 1.6% today, with Android on 60.7% marketshare (up from 28.9% a year ago), while Symbian continues to be used on 27.9% of smartphones (down from 44.6%a year ago).
Brazil will also be one of the launch markets for Mozilla’s low-cost Firefox OS smartphone later this year.