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Apple loses trademark case vs MyPhone

Tech giant Apple Inc. just lost its trademark case against the Philippine company behind My|phone.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Tuesday, Solid Group said the Philippines’ Intellectual Property Office (IPO) dismissed the case filed by Apple against Solid Broadband Corp., which sells My|phone.

Apple had opposed Solid Broadband’s application for the trademark “my|phone”, saying it was “confusingly similar” to its iPhone and “likely to deceive or cause confusion.”

“This is a case of a giant trying to claim more territory than what it is entitled to, to the great prejudice of a local “Pinoy Phone” merchant who has managed to obtain a significant foothold in the mobile phone market through the marketing and sale of innovative products under a very distinctive trademark,” IPO director Nathaniel Arevalo said in the May 19 decision.

Solid Broadband launched my|phone, the first locally branded mobile phones in the Philippines in 2007. From three mobile phone products in 2007, it now markets and sells over 40 models under my|phone.

Arevalo further noted there is “absolutely no confusing similarity between my|phone trademark (of Solid) and the iPhone trademark (of Apple).”

“While the marks are similar with respect to the word (‘phone’), it is not sufficient to conclude that confusion among the consumers is likely to occur. ‘Phone’ is a generic term for products mobile phones,” he added.

The IPO official said there is no likelihood that consumers would be confused between my|phone and iPhone.

“The buying public should be credited with a modicum of intelligence and discernment in purchasing articles, such as gadgets and mobile phones… The fame and popularity of iPhone in fact makes it improbable for one to confuse my|phone product as an iPhone,” he said.

However, Solid noted Apple can still appeal the IPO’s decision within 30 days after receipt of a copy of the decision. The decision becomes final and executory if no appeal is filed on time.