updated 01:00 am EST, Fri February 16, 2007
Cisco, Apple extend talks
Cisco has extended the time available to Apple in its iPhone lawsuit yet again in effort to reach an out-of-court settlement over the iPhone trademark. Last month, the company sued Apple after a breakdown in negotiations and Apple's (surprise) announcement of the revolutionary device at Macworld Expo. The company said late Thursday that it has given Apple nearly another week to respond to its trademark infringement lawsuit--which threatens to halt Apple from using the "iPhone" name on its much-hyped new music- and toucn-enabled cellular phone, according to The Associated Press. Apple originally had until early February to respond to the lawsuit, but the companies then agreed to extend the deadline until February 15. With the deadline imminent, the companies agreed to yet another extension. Cisco, the world's largest networking equipment maker, said Apple now has until next Wednesday to respond to the lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court.
Debates have swirled over Cisco's right to the trademark after the company acquired the rights several years ago, its consumer wireless division last Spring began shipping an VoIP-based iPhone product line that uses the internet to make phone calls; however, Apple claims that the phones differ significantly because its iPhone works as a cellular phone with music capabilities. Apple has exclusively partnered with Cingular, now AT&T, in the US and reports claim that Rogers Wireless will carry the iPhone in Canada; however, Apple may face a similar trademark claim in Canada and has not announced the product for that market.
After a public war of words in which Apple called the lawsuit 'silly', Cisco CEO John Chambers described the trademark lawsuit as a minor skirmish; on Thursday, both companies reiterated previous statements that they want to use the extra time to reach a settlement, according to the report.
Despite reports that royalties for the iPhone name could reach into the hundreds of millions, Cisco has said that the lawsuit is not about royalties and simply wants Apple to commit to interoperability with its own devices, but has not provided any details.