Saturday, March 15, 2008

Canada’s iPhone Delayed due to Trademark Dispute

Apple is currently in a dispute with Comwave Telecom Inc. about trademark rights to the name “iPhone”. In the meantime, Apple has filed its opposition to the CIPO, or the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

While the dispute is being settled, this could delay the iPhone from going into northern territory for an undetermined amount of time. Although previously rumored last week that it was going to be retailed by Holt Renfrew, as covered by iPhone World here, it didn’t quite happen.

iphone canada

The main thing keeping the iPhone away from Canada is the fact that there are no carriers willing to support the iPhone due to Apple’s required contractual agreements. Rogers Wireless, the only Canadian carrier that supports GSM (the iPhone’s main method of communication), is still a no-go, atleast until Apple secures its rights to the “iPhone” in Canada.

Comwave’s President, Yuval Barzakay, said that sharing the term would not be possible, because of how much Apple puts into it’s marketing, in comparison. “The force they put into marketing would quickly make the brand Apple’s and not ours,” he said. “It’s a case of hijacking the brand. If I asked people on the street who owns the iPhone trademark in Canada, they’d all say Apple. And their product isn’t even in the market. So co-existence is not possible.” he continued.

The dispute between Comwave Telecom and Apple is similiar to the Apple vs Cisco case we covered a while ago, where the two companies had to share the “iPhone”, though it looked like Cisco had somewhat lost due to pressure from Apple.

As for who rightfully deserves the right to use this trademark, there are only two ways to claim a trademark. One is to establish use in that country, or the other, is to register the intention for use. But either way, it’s first come first serve. This means that it depends on if Comwave can prove that it’s been using the iPhone brand since June 2004, which is 3 months before Apple filed for it’s trademark.

“Our position is Apple has one of two choices: they can either walk away from the trademark and let us keep the iPhone name here in Canada, or they can buy the brand from us,” says Barzakay.

We’ll continue to cover the iPhone’s official release in Canada as news supports it.

Thanks: CBC

1 comment:

Andrae Griffith said...

Another problem is that Rogers doesn't believe in offering its customers unlimited anything, and since they are the only GSM game in town, there's no incentive for them to improve their plans and there's no incentive for them to secure the iphone before one of their competitors does.