updated 08:35 am EST, Thu February 1, 2007
Cisco gives Apple reprieve
Apple and Cisco have both agreed to give Apple more time to respond to Cisco's lawsuit surrounding the iPhone moniker in order to discuss trademark rights and interoperability, the companies said late Wednesday. Networking giant Cisco earlier this month filed a lawsuit against Apple over the iPhone trademark, following unsuccessful negotiations leading up to the iPhone launch at Macworld Expo. On the day of the launch, Cisco seemed confident that an agreement was close, but Apple reportedly refused to capitulate to Cisco's demand for interoperability, resulting in a war of words between the companies and eventually a lawsuit against Apple. During a conference call with analysts earlier this month, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook called the Cisco lawsuit "silly," and said Cisco's trademark registration was "tenuous at best. If Cisco wants to challenge us," Cook said, "we're confident we'll prevail."
For its part, Cisco seems to have taken the high road, claiming that it simply wanted Apple to respect its intellectual property. The company's CEO John Chambers said that it was looking "for just interoperability, or the ability of the Apple phone to work smoothly with Cisco product." Cisco owns the iPhone tradmark through its Linksys consumer wireless division, which uses the moniker for a line of internet-based phones.
Apple's new device is "deceptively and confusingly similar" to its own line Linksys VOIP-based phones, Cisco claims, while Apple says it is entitled to use the name iPhone because its device operates over a cellular network, unlike Cisco's phones.
Other reports indicate that Apple may also face trademark issues in Canada, where Comwave Telecom has used the iPhone brand since 2004 to sell Internet phone service to its customers and filed documents opposing Apple's motion to take the name.