Not sure why we didn’t spot this last week, but TechOn are reporting that Japanese manufacturer Aiphone Co Ltd have come to an agreement with Apple regarding use of the iPhone name in Japan. While the two words may be spelt differently in English, apparently the Japanese rendering for each is the same; Aiphone Co Ltd hold the trademarks for “Aiphone” in both languages in Japan, and for the English word outside of the country. Aiphone make door entry intercoms and access security systems.
Under the terms of the agreement – the majority of which have not been disclosed – Apple will have the opportunity to use the iPhone brand name in Japan while the trademarks of both companies will continue to coexist in all other regions. Apparently negotiations have been in progress since the Summer of 2007.
TechRadar [via MacRumors], among others, are flagging up Japan’s lack of an GSM EDGE network as a sign that Apple would likely be intending a 3G iPhone for the country; of course, the UK had also bypassed EDGE in their network development, and official iPhone carrier O2 had to roll-out coverage for the handset as part of their exclusivity agreement. However, considering the ongoing rumors concerning the existence of a 3G iPhone, it seems unlikely that Apple would launch the existing model in the notoriously competitive Japanese market.