Shakespeare was absolutely wrong when he famously wrote “What’s in a name?”. In the 21st century, a brand’s success depends on its name. Sometime in 2007, a Tamil Nadu-based company, iVoice Enterprises Limited’ tasted failure when their affordable yet feature-rich product called ‘iFon’ or ‘India Phone’ got shelved even before it hit the market.
Reason? The product was phonetically similar to Apple’s iPhone. iFon’s financial plug was pulled by bankers and overseas partners after Apple introduced the iPhone at Macworld expo in 2007. 2008 marked the arrival of iPhone in India but not before Apple had filed a petition against the iVoice trademark.
Although Apple’s journey in the Indian market was pretty smooth over the next two years, iVoice suffered devastating loss to their finances and brand. Now, the company is ready to lock horns with the giant again.
In October end, iVoice filed a petition stating ‘irrecoverable financial impact on our business model’ at the Trade Marks Registry (TMR), India, to revoke Apple’s popular motif in the country.
Even as iVoice’s petition is being reviewed by the Appellate, the company is receiving flak from Apple users from all across the globe. While some call it a “money-making scheme”, others feel that iVoice could have avoided the damage by simply changing the name of their product!
How’s Apple going to survive this David & Goliath battle? Since they recently won a similar petition in June against a Mexican telecom company ‘iFone’, we believe this one should be a piece of cake for them!