Yep. In a sort of surreal decision, brazilian company Gradiente decided to release their new smartphone, Neo One, under the name Iphone. They claim they filed a petition back in 2000 for the name, and since 2008 they hold exclusive rights for it in Brazil.
In a press release (sorry, they only put it in portuguese), Gradiente tries really hard to convince everyone that this decision has not been taken out of idiotic opportunism, but actually out of a very well-planned, well-studied business strategy. I translated a few segments:
“In 2000, Gradiente envisioned that a technologic revolution was under way for mobile phones, with the conversion of voice and data transmission through mobile internet. In that same year, the company filed a registration petition for the brand IPHONE at INPI (National Institute of Industrial Property). On January 2nd, 2008, the company was granted the registration rights by the federal organ and proceeded to detain exclusive rights for production and commercialization of the brand until 2018.
Gradiente has not used the brand IPHONE up until now because the priority was to promote the restructuration of its operation and to allow the retake of its businesses. This return of activities happened in early 2012, with the announcement of the Brazilian Digital Technology Company (CBTD), responsible for the lease and management of the Gradient brands. CBTD is producing and marketing actively its product lines – mobile phones, tablets, audio and video devices, photographic cameras, monitors, and others – and plans to expand its activities for 2013. Between CBTD stockholders, 48% belong to Gradiente Stockholders Holding (HAG), created to gather the 2.000 stockholders of IGB Eletrônica.
With its consolidated business model, the company decided that it was the ideal moment to work with an adequate brand, which is rightfully owned. The launch of the IPHONE family, licenced by the CBTD, happens as Gradiente begins to rollout its mobile phone portfolio into the cutting-edge smartphone segment.”
Towars the end of the press release, they indicate that legal action will be taken towards Apple to ensure their rights:
“Gradiente is confident in a broad acceptance of the IPHONE family by brazilian consumers, allowing the company to gain product share in the smarphone business in the country. As Gradiente, in Brazil, detains the exclusive rights for the brand IPHONE, in phones and respective accessories, the company shall adopt every legal means taken by companies across the world to ensure the preservation of its intellectual property in our country.”
Samsung has just fallen to the second place in the Companies Making Idiots Out Of Themselves As They Try To Get A Free Ride On Apple’s Success list.
Sham on you, Gradiente.
Via Valor Econômico
UPDATE: Oh, yes. Gradiente’s Iphone will run Android. Shocking.