Apple is once again facing “iPhone” naming writes woes, this time in a challenge coming from Indian firm iVoice Enterprises, which claims the phonetic similarity between iPhone and its own “iFon” destroyed the project before it got off the ground.
According to iVoice managing director V. P. Balaji, the Erode-based company was founded in 2007 to create a low-priced, feature-rich mobile phones to be marketed in India as “iFon,” reports The Time of India.
iVoice is petitioning India’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) to remove Apple’s “iPhone” trademark from its registry, and the agency recently asked for an official response, suggesting the opposition may have a chance at being reviewed.
“The manufacturing and design of the phones were to be outsourced to companies in China and Taiwan. As we wanted to bring out an affordable phone for people across the country, we named it India Phone (iFon),” Balaji said.
Shortly after Apple introduced the iPhone at the Macworld expo in 2007, iVoice’s iFon initiative disintegrated as financial bakers pulled out and overseas partners withdrew support. The result was devastating to iVoice’s business.