Apple slapped with lawsuit over ‘iPhone’ brand in India

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Indian firm iVoice Enterprise has taken its battle against Apple over the ‘iPhone’ brand claim to a next level.

According to the Times of India, the India based intellectual property licensing firm has filed four cases against granted and pending rights relating to the iPhone brand. The company reportedly had plans to manufacture affordable smartphones under the ‘iFon’ brandname.

Last year in October, iVoice Enterprise had filed a rectification petition with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in Chennai to remove Apple’s trademark on iPhone from the Indian Trademark Registry. In response, Apple first failed to submit its counter before the last date, but managed to file it later along with the late fee.

The company recently challenged all of Apple’s registered or pending ‘iPhone’ trademarks before the IP Appellate Board and the Trademark Registry in India in February, demanding that the Cupertino may not be allowed to use these in India.

As per the report, iVoice has issued a press statement informing that it is expanding its IPR lawsuit, opposing Apple’s pending Trademark applications including one for ‘iPhone with Apple Logo.’

Commenting on the issue, iVoice managing director, VP Balaji, said “Apple’s original opposition to ‘iFon’ trademark caused insurmountable challenges and irrevocable losses in ramping our business during 2008/2009.

Given the rejuvenated Indian economy, we’re on our way to revamp our business model and one key metric to regain investor confidence is to secure unencumbered rights to our ‘iFon’ intellectual property in India. As of February 2015, we’ve challenged all of Apple’s registered/pending ‘iPhone’ trademarks before IPAB and TMR in India.”

iVoice Operations Director, Venkateshwaran Vaiyapuri added, “We’ve filed one more rectification/cancellation petition against Apple’s registered Trademark number 1634050 ‘iPhone with Apple Logo’ to cement and consolidate our IPR battle. With this final petition, we’ve challenged Apple’s attempt for potential proprietary claim for ‘iPhone’ in India and such would convey a strong message to Apple that we’re very serious in protecting our intellectual property rights.”

Apple is yet to comment on the on the ongoing “iFon” dispute.