Apple has lost its trademark case in Brazil, thereby allowing local company Gradiente to continue to call its Android smartphone the "iphone".

A Brazilian court has ruled that because Gradiente registered the "iphone" name in 2000 - seven years before Apple - it is allowed to continue to use the name for mobile phones. Apple now runs the risk of Gradiente suing for exclusive use of the name if the Californian giant continues to use it for its own devices in Brazil.

Speaking to the BBC, the Institute of Industrial Property said that Apple will be pursuing an appeal. It also revealed that Apple retains exclusive right to use the word "iPhone" on clothing, in software and across publications.

Apple's argument in court was that Gradiente had not used the name in the 12 years from its registration until the release of the Gradiente iphone Neo One Android smartphone.

At the time of its unveiling, the boss of the Brazilian company invited discussion with Apple about the trademark. "We're open to a dialogue for anything, anytime... we're not radicals," he told Bloomberg.