STF judges dispute over the “iPhone” brand between Gradiente and Apple

A lawsuit that has dragged on for more than a decade may finally come to an end in the coming days. The Federal Supreme Court (STF) began judging last Friday (2) the dispute over the “iPhone” brand between Gradiente and Apple. The rapporteur for the case, Minister Dias Toffoli, voted in favor of Gradiente. The trial is due to conclude on June 12.

Toffoli proposed the thesis that “the precedence of the filing of the application for the granting of trademark registration is not affected by the subsequent use of the same distinctive sign by third parties in Brazil or abroad” and, therefore, the thesis will affect all judgments with disputes similar in justice.

The process began ten years ago when Apple requested the annulment of the registration of the trademark “Gradiente iphone” — just like that, with everything lowercase — at the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), stating that the Brazilian company could only use the combined trademark and not “iphone” in isolation. Apple also highlighted the history of devices starting with “i”, such as iPad, iMac, iPod and more.

Gradiente claims that the trademark was submitted to the INPI on March 20, 2000, when Apple was not in the cell phone segment, but the registration was only granted on January 2, 2008, a few months after the launch of the first iPhone from Apple.

Gradiente entered into a judicial recovery process in 2018 with a debt of BRL 976.5 million that ended in 2023.

An attempt at conciliation between the companies was carried out in 2020, but there was no agreement.

With the rest of the court still not giving their votes on the matter, it remains for us to wait for the next few days to see which company will emerge victorious in this story that has dragged on for so long: Apple or Gradiente.

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