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Cisco: iPhone name is still ours

updated 05:20 pm EST, Tue January 16, 2007

Cisco: iPhone name is ours

Cisco rejects the notion that the company may have lost control of the iPhone trademark, the company's general counsel John Earnhardt said today in his official blog. Electronista notes that he has followed recent news in the blogging community and flatly dismisses allegations that the company had let its rights to the iPhone name slip, stating bluntly that Cisco had "met all elements" needed to hold on to the name Apple is now sharing with its cellphone. "We've been pretty direct about the fact that we've been shipping the iPhone since last spring," Earnhardt said. The claim directly contradicted new evidence that surfaced over the weekend, which suggested that Cisco hastily applied the iPhone name to a sticker in a single photo while the associated, real-world product carried only its Linksys branding.

ZDNet columnist Ed Burnette, who first uncovered the glaring flaw in Cisco's claims, has also reiterated his position with new legal evidence, pointing to a now-defunct iPhone support page which showed that Cisco had let the iPhone name go unused on its website since the buyout of original trademark holder InfoGear in 2000.

by MacNN Staff




  1. jad713

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Must be fascinating

    I can't believe that Cisco's general counsel John Earnhardt has an "official blog." Wow. Must be a great read. Hope there's an RSS feed.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    all the kewl kidz

    have a blog these days!

    -- proudly blog-free

  1. MacnTX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We'll See...

    Earnhardt had better hope he's right anyway.

  1. JohnEarnhardt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Correction from Cisco

    Just so we are clear, I (John Earnhardt) am not the General Counsel of Cisco. Mark Chandler is our SVP and General Counsel and wrote the initial Cisco blog entry on the issue of the infringement of our iPhone trademark. You can read that entry here:

    Our corporate blog "News@Cisco Notes" can be reached here:

    I reside in our Public Relations department. Apologies for any confusion.

  1. bigpoppa206

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Should be interresting...

    "The US Patent and Trademark Office shows the trademark was abandoned in late 2005/early 2006 because Cisco was not using it which means Apple is well within its rights."


    Joined: Dec 1969



    Thanks John for clearing that up!

    After reading all that I am even more confused. I truly believe that Cisco is using Apple's popular family of "i" products to push its own.

    Lets think of it this way. With all the R&D at hand at Cisco wouldn't someone have said" "Gee wiz, our iPhone product name sounds a lot like and Apple product, especially one that is rumored to come out soon. Maybe we should choose another name to prevent confusion!". I find it hard to believe that someone did not mention it.

    Lets put it this way! If a ship nearing completion with the name of Titanic was in dock, but then a separate ship, the one we all know, ships out for sail and sinks like it did - don't you think the the one being finished would get a name change even if that ships name was chosen well before the other famous Titanic was drawn, built and "shipped"!


    Joined: Dec 1969



    What will happen is Vista will be the ONLY one you can buy. XP and all its brothers will be removed from the shelves and will be the only MS OS to be installed at the OEM end. MS will claim a win for VISTA by selling X number of copies, even if only 2 percent are "off the shelf" purchases.

  1. tomodachi

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The only people who put off purchasing new Macs because of rumors and/or alleged "6-9 month product cycles" are the minority geeks who spend too much time in Apple related forums (incl. me). The vast majority of the Apple clientele don't act that way.

    Conversely, if everybody knew that new MBPs are coming out soon (say in March), then everybody will wait till March, even the very large number of (non-geek) people who would have happily bought the current MBPs right now.

    Yeah, roadmap, great business decision. NOTTTTTT.

    The fact of the effing matter is, most other PC companies don't give out their product "roadmaps" for the consumers to scrutinize either, be it Sony, Dell, Toshiba, whoever. They all keep their future products "secret" till they announce/release them.

    It just SEEMS like Apple is so secretive because everybody wants to know when a new Apple product/revision will come out. Nobody gives a rats a** when the new Vaio or Presario or Precision will come out. Are there "" or "" or "" out there? Thought not.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cisco using iPhone

    since early 2006 -- bullshit_

    They may have -- but where Podunk, Minesota for a bout 5 minutes - when no where in the sphere of tech news - forums or reports that the mass majority of consumers frequent on a daily basis heard of it until mid-December when they trumped Apple for the name of a product_

    Yes - Cisco owns the Trademark_

    Yes - Apple need to get off it's ego_

    No - Cisco was not using the name extensively_

    Yes - Cisco could still sit on the Trademark and not use it for another 10 years - as long as they keep the Rights updated - Apple will still be infringing on Cisco's rights_ And by all means should be held liable_

    Somebody recently noted that if the situation were reversed - do you think Apple wouldn't be pouncing on Cisco if they were to infringe on one of Apple Patents or Trademarks ?? What if 2moro Cisco released soem Gizmo called the iPod - which does whatever - but also has a music player feature - whether it resembled Apple's product or not_ h*** YEAH Apple would be all over it_

  1. hokizpokis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Trademark this

    Trademark law should prevent 'owning' of generic terms like 'automobile'

    or 'television' or 'phone' or even 'internet'...

    so why should 'iPhone' be even considered a possible trademark, instead it is just a catogory of devices!

    also 'iPod' would be a valid Trademark unless 'pods' were a common item that everyone understood like 'lemons' or 'shoes'...

    do you think Henry Ford could have 'Trademarked' his 'car' or 'his cars branding'?? Then why would the Trademark office accept other 4 wheeled, gasoline powered vehicles as competitors??

    Perhaps this is why Steve is ignoring Cisco, the 'iPhone' is in fact 'not branding' but it is in fact a 'catogory of devices' like 'houses' or 'cars'...

    Trademark law is designed to protect the creators of a product and consumers from fraud...or the market place... and to 'protect' the 'inventors' of 'ideas' and 'devices', so they can prevent infringement on their work, and prevent a company from copying directly from an existing device, but at the same time permits 'reverse engineering' because it is good for the market. Trademark does not prevent any company from creating a competitive product to an existing product unless it is too similar; Ciscos' iPhone will never be confused with 'Apples' iPhone, so I see no real battle here between these two tech giants.

    so I believe since the 'apple iPhone' is obviously different from the 'cisco iPhone' both in design and technology as well as the viability of each product; the fact that both devices are within a catogory called 'internet phones'; still can't prevent a competing company from entering the market with their own device built on new ideas and reverse engineered ideas...

    Plus the Cisco and Apple brands are very different and are marketed very differently, both are huge companies with world wide awareness and seperate areas of excellence; I doubt anyone can confuse a network router company for a computer operating system company...unless both companies instead decided to change each company name to the same brand, then call your lawyer.

    So next week look for microsoft and sony to both announce their versions of an 'iPhone' to the already overcrowed 'internet Phone' segment... then how about samsung and sharp getting into the game and tell me when will nokia and ericson's get in the game and do some real competing against LG and Motorola...

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