RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil's patent authority has bitten Apple.
The agency says the iPhone name in Brazil belongs to a local company called Gradiente SA, not to the global computer giant.
A patent office spokesman says the decision published today doesn't forbid Apple from using the name in Brazil. It only makes it clear the rights belong to the Brazilian company. To stop Apple's use of the brand name, Gradiente would have to take it to court, or reach a settlement.
Gradiente had filed its request to use the iPhone brand in 2000. That right was granted in 2008, and the company started making ‘iphones' - with a lowercase ‘p’ - in December. The phone runs on the Android operating system, developed by Apple archrival Google Inc.