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Cisco sues Apple over iPhone trademark

updated 07:05 pm EST, Wed January 10, 2007

Cisco sues Apple on iPhone

Cisco on Wednesday sued Apple, claiming that the company doesn't have permission to name its forthcoming device the iPhone, which debuted at Macworld Expo. The two companies were reportedly negotiating a deal for the iPhone trademark, which is currently used by Cisco's consumer wireless division for its line of VOIP-based wireless phones. Although the deal was not final when the iPhone was announced, Cisco said it anticipated that Apple would sign off on the (undisclosed) terms on Tuesday. MarketWatch reports Cisco has owned the trademark for "iPhone" since 2000, the result of its purchase of InfoGear, which owned the trademark previously. According to the report, Cisco on Wednesday asked a U.S. District Court judge for Northern California to order Apple not to use the name for a device that it introduced on Tuesday during the annual Macworld Expo.

Apple, which intends to begin selling its iPhone sometime in June, will have until then to work things out with the networking giant, according to the report. The lawsuit follows years of negotiations between the two companies, which continued even as Apple CEO Steve Jobs was introducing the iPhone Tuesday during the Expo keynote, Marketwatch reports.

The report says that Cisco took the iPhone's introduction as a sign that Apple had agreed to Cisco's terms for use of the trademark and on Tuesday issued a statement saying that it suspected Apple had agreed to terms, and was expecting to hear from the company later that day; however, the paper paperwork never arrived, according to a Cisco spokesman.

"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," Mark Chandler, Cisco's senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement to Marketwatch. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without permission."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. ebrunn

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    legally required

    Cisco has to do this no matter what. They are legally required to protect its trademarks and if they dont, they risk losing them. Their is a deal in place, but they have to do this first.

  1. telem

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    ApplePhone?

    If the name "iPhone" is already in use on unremarkable phones, seems strange that Apple would have used it. "ApplePhone" would work -- just like "AppleTV" instead of "iTV." BTW, will it be Appleworld next year?

  1. rbsandka

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    iPod Phone

    I'm a big enough Apple fan, but... What is up with all of this nonsense? Cicso has the trademark. Get over it Apple.

    Apple could pay for use of the trademark. But, it makes much more sense to just call it an "iPod Phone". It doesn't cost any money, Apple doesn't come off as a bully trying to get its way, and the name iPod has all the brand recognition anyway.

    There are tons of non-Apple "i" products on the market. Starting with the letter "i" in no way makes an immediate association with Apple. But everybody knows what an iPod is and who makes it. And everybody will know that an "iPod phone" is an iPod that has phone capabilities. Just like everybody immediately knew that an iPod mini was a small iPod, and an iPod Nano was an even smaller iPod. No one had to explain it to users, and no one thinks they are bad names just because they have two words.

    Apple has even proved the point by naming the iTV the "appleTV" If "i" has such all-powerful branding, then why didn't they stick with iTV (yes I know there is an eyeTV, but that's not iTV, is it)?

    Someone please tell me how just calling it "iPod Phone" is not the logical thing to do.

  1. DahlBryn

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Call it the "Apple Phone"

    Just call the darn thing "Apple Phone" and be done with it. Who cares what its called, as long as it launches !

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yawn

    This will have no impact on the iPhone deployment. If they end up changing the name, so be it. If they end up paying Cisco a pile of cash for the name, who cares. Apple didn't let the threat of the Apple Corps lawsuit from slowing down their iTunes Music Store plans, and this Cisco thing won't make any difference either.

    Frankly I wouldn't be surprised if Apple didn't plan to lose the iPhone name anyway. The press was expecting an "iPhone" annoucement. Apple gave it to them without the distraction of a new name. A week or a month from now if Apple announces the iPhone will be called the iPod phone or whatever that will just result in another round of free publicity for a product that is half a year away. It's all good.

  1. Buran

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    We're too quick to sue

    One freaking day and someone's getting sued already? I'm not proud of what we've become. Too quick to blame others.

  1. surferboy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    iTV

    I think they are saving iTV for the rumored widescreen they are developing.

  1. csimon2

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    imac, ibook, ipod...

    like any of these companies ever would have named ANY of their products with a lowercase i as the first letter in the product if it hadn't been for Apple. Of course people initially think of Apple when there is a iAnything, that's what makes it of value to Apple to begin with.

    Was Apple stupid to not get this trademark licensed in their hands before announcing it? Yes, or course. But to not understand where they are coming from and to claim to know the mac and Apple is contradictory.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Right is Right

    Apple should have patented the letter "i". I think Apple should just have named it the Newton, seriously, it's far enough removed from the original Newton, it does after all compete directly with smart phones, which started out as PDAs, of which the Newton was the first, it's circular, makes sense, and people would get it. In fact, I think it was probably suggest at Apple, that person is now in Iraq after pitching it to Steve :D

  1. tsmelker

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    You're wrong, rbsandka...

    ... name me one product that used the "iXxxx" marketing strategy BEFORE the first iMac was introduced. After Apple introduced the iMac and it became so popular, companies everywhere were trying to cash in on the "iCraze". IBM's crappy eMachines tried it with the "eOne"; there was even an "iPac" car or something to that effect. Therefore, there would never have been the term "iPhone" to patent if Apple hadn't been so clever in their marketing strategy.

    Cisco's need to protect their "trademark" notwithstanding, all they're trying to do is rain on Apple's parade, steal some of their thunder and shake them down for some money- they're no different than SanDisk or Creative in this regard. It just goes to show: you can tell how great an idea or product is by the volume of the detractors that show up immediately afterward. I think the biggest thing Cisco's concerned over is that Apple's iPhone will be such a big hit that Cisco's own iPhone will fall to the ground with a dull thud... and no one will even notice.

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