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Apple loses right to use iPhone trademark in Brazil: WSJ

A man poses with an iPhone during Earth Hour in the center of Brasilia March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
A man poses with an iPhone during Earth Hour in the center of Brasilia March 31, 2012. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

By Erin Geiger Smith

(Reuters) - Brazil's copyright regulator on Wednesday stripped Apple Inc of the right to use its iPhone trademark in that country, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Wednesday.

The agency that oversees patents in Brazil said Gradiente Electronica SA, a Brazilian consumer electronics maker, already owned the rights to the iPhone name, according to the report.

Apple will be able to challenge the ruling in the Brazilian courts.

Earlier this month, sources told Reuters that the regulator, the Brazilian Institute of Intellectual Property, was likely to make the decision that Apple did not have the rights to the trademark.

Gradiente Electronica registered the "iphone" name in 2000, seven years before Apple launched its popular smartphone.

A spokesperson for Apple in the United States was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting By Erin Geiger Smith)

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