Cisco to sue Apple over iPhone name

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We hinted on launch date that Cisco might have something to say about Apple’s use of the iPhone for its new handset – and it does. It’s going to sue.

Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after acquiring Infogear, which previously owned the name. However, Apple doesn’t seem overly concerned, dismissing Cisco’s claims as “silly” and “tenuous at best”.

According to Apple spokesman Alan Hely: “We think Cisco’s trademark lawsuit is silly. There are already several companies using the name iPhone for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products. We are the first company to ever use the iPhone name for a cell phone, and if Cisco wants to challenge us on it we are very confident we will prevail.”

In response, Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice-president and general counsel, said: “Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name.” Cisco said it would seek to stop Apple from “infringing upon and deliberately copying and using” the trademark.

Apple website

Dave Walker

2 comments

  • I think despite this copyright/ trademark issue, the iPhone will still sell well.

    Look at the hype it has generated pre-launch!

  • Looks like Apple knew about this potential legal issue over trademark. So this is very sneaky and strange behavior on their part.

    I always expected Apple to be more creative than this. Specially when they knew in advance that iPhone is taken. They could have gone with iFone or iMobile or something even better. Deliberate stealing of trademark does not suit Apple’s image of creativity.

    I am wondering if Apple is planning on using their creative talents in legal arena (like getting free publicity through this legal quagmire).

    Cisco registered the iPhone trademark before (in year 2000) Apple start using iPod or iMac for product names. I always have like Apple as a company. But lately they are becomng arrogant (media campaigns based upon bashing competition etc.). IMO, their products are expensive and hard to interoperate with (even though at their core they use BSD). But I still have bought Apple products becasue they are innovative and cool. They are making it very hard for me to continue to like them :-/

    Meanwhile, Cisco (probably the only router vendor) has been providing support in their CiscoIOS code for their somewhat obscure AppleTalk protocol and making it possible to integrate with other networs for the longest time. From Cisco’s legal counsel’s public statement, it is apparent that they even agreed to discuss with Apple to find a resolution. I don’t even see Cisco sueing for money. They just want their trademark back which is startegically important for them because they want to get into th consumer market. Eventhough they are leaglly and morally on higher ground, I think they may get negative publicity just by taking on a favorite icon like Apple and being bigger in size.

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