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A court in Mexico has denied an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) injunction that would have allowed the company to continue selling iPhone-branded products in the country. According to the judge at the Mexico City-based court, the smartphone’s brand name is too similar to iFone, the name of a local company that provides software for call centers.
“It’s the third time Apple has lost,” Eduardo Gallastegui, an attorney for the Mexican firm, told Efe, adding that “iFone is fully entitled to the use of its brand name.”
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Apple filed a complaint against iFone with the Mexican Industrial Property Institute in 2009, asking that the company stop using the name because of the phonetic similarities between the two words. However, the court found that iFone had registered the trade name in 2003, four years before Apple did. The Mexican firm then filed a countersuit asking for damages and demanding that Apple be blocked from selling the device.
It is unclear exactly what the next steps are for Apple and iFone, including whether additional appeals were possible. The iPhone 5 was scheduled to be launched by the top two Mexican carriers, Telcel (NYSE:AMX) and Movistar (NYSE:TEF), on Friday, and it’s not certain if the court order will delay the launch. Apple may possibly eventually seek an agreement with iFone.
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