updated 06:10 pm EST, Tue December 19, 2006
iPhone name still open?
Despite this week's introduction of the Linksys product, the "iPhone" name may be still be accessible to Apple, notes Electronista. There are actually four iPhone trademarks filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, and of those, only one has been granted to Linksys and its parent company Cisco. Two others have initially been refused, and a fourth (by Ocean Telecom) has yet to formally enter the approval process.
The Ocean Telecom patent is unique as the only one of the four filed patent applications to actually address music. In addition to telephone services, it specifically refers to "MP3 and other digital format audio players." The Cisco/Linksys patent, meanwhile, limits itself to "integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks." The diversity of patents may actually work in Apple's favor -- since no one company seems to have a dominant claim, the USPTO may not be able to refuse an Apple trademark.