Apple Inc. lost the rights to its iPhone trademark in Brazil this week because of a company claiming to have filed a request to use the "iphone" brand seven years before Apple launched its iPhone.

"The regulator, Inpi, ruled on Wednesday that the rights to the trademark belong to Gradiente, prompting California-based Apple to request that the decision be reviewed in Latin America's largest market.

"Consumer electronics maker Gradiente had filed its request to use the 'iphone' brand in 2000, seven years before Apple launched its smartphone, but received approval to use the trademark only in 2008.

"Now, in order to keep its trademark rights, Gradiente will need to prove to the regulator in the next 60 days that it made use of the trademark between January 2008 and January 2013, Inpi said late on Wednesday. Brands in Brazil must be developed within 5 years of gaining approval."