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Both companies will use the "iPhone" trademark

Cisco Systems and Apple today came to a definitive agreement on the trademark name "iPhone." The two companies have been at each other's neck for the better part of the last two months since Apple officially launched its iPhone back in January. After the launch, Cisco filed a suit against Apple claiming that it had infringed on the "iPhone" trademark, which rightfully belongs to Cisco.

Under the agreement, Cisco will allow Apple to freely use the "iPhone" trademark globally. Cisco will also be able to use the same trademark name on its own products. In a statement, Cisco said that each company will dismiss any pending actions regarding the trademark and the two companies will look into other opportunities for the "iPhone" name. According to the press release:
Under the agreement, both companies are free to use the "iPhone" trademark on their products throughout the world. Both companies acknowledge the trademark ownership rights that have been granted, and each side will dismiss any pending actions regarding the trademark. In addition, Cisco and Apple will explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications. Other terms of the agreement are confidential.
Cisco's consumer division Linksys has a line of Skype VoIP phones using the "iPhone" trademark, which launched late last year. Apple later made a gamble with its mobile phone and also called it the "iPhone" -- even though Apple knew at that time that the trademark rightfully belonged to Cisco.


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can't wait...
By Souka on 2/22/2007 3:33:44 AM , Rating: 2
can't wait for either Cisco to get into the cell-phone market and put out their own "iPhone"

or Apple to get into the VOIP phone biz with their own iPhone...

Now that I would find funny....




RE: can't wait...
By SquidianLoveGod on 2/22/2007 7:19:37 AM , Rating: 3
Unless they Put "Apples iPhone" or "Cisco's iPhone" on the packaging, I can see allot of average joe's picking up the wrong product if they both have iPhones or Voip phones.


Who cares?
By INeedCache on 2/22/2007 12:56:18 PM , Rating: 3
Besides Cisco and Apple, who cares? If you aren't one of those two and you do care, you need a life, badly. If you are a consumer and get confused by iPhone and investigate no further, you are a very bad one and deserve to buy the wrong thing. I can understand a consumer getting confused on a minimal purchase, couple of bucks type of thing, but anyone spending the kind of money that is being asked for anything "iPhone" ought to have investigated enough to know what is what. Caveat emptor.




RE: Who cares?
By TomZ on 2/22/2007 1:05:15 PM , Rating: 1
It's a lead story today in the Tech sections of most American news media outlets, so I'd say there is generally more than just some "geek interest" in this story.


This may be just me but....
By JTKTR on 2/22/2007 1:48:31 AM , Rating: 2
Wasn't this in the bible? Cause I could swear I read somewhere that He would descend from the heavens and send those unworthy to Hell...weird...




RE: This may be just me but....
By jmunjr on 2/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: This may be just me but....
By alifbaa on 2/22/2007 9:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
That was uncalled for.


By Lifted on 2/22/2007 2:05:21 AM , Rating: 1
You clearly have no idea what a trademark is.


By BillyBatson on 2/22/2007 2:21:26 AM , Rating: 1
and you call me ignorant... go read the history of this for the last 2 months. First off cisco attained this trademark even before the ipod excisted so so cisco was never trying to ride any sort of wave as you imply.
2nd yes they got bullied. if i remember correctly a judge was trying to get them to settle the dispute on their own otherwise he would i think decide who gets it or said something like the name is too generic and not one company should have a right to it? which would allow any company to use it so obviously rather than let that happen cisco decided to just give in, maybe in the hopes that it can at least NOW right the wave of popularity and free advertisement/name recognition that Apples iphone will bring. For years? now Apple has been in talks with Cisco over purchasing the name but Cisco never budged so Apple used it anyway.


By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2007 9:08:00 AM , Rating: 3
> "and you call me ignorant... go read the history of this for the last 2 months..."

I'm sorry, but you don't understand trademark law. Cisco's "ownership" of the trademark was weak for several reasons. First of all, the mark was registered in 1996 by Infogear (and transferred to Cisco to 2000 when they purchased the company) Yet the mark wasn't used until very recently. Trademark law does not allow you to hoard marks...if you don't use a mark for three consecutive years, that is prima facie evidence of abandonment.

The second reason is even stronger. You can't trademark the word "apple" to sell apples. And you can't trademark the word "phone" to sell phones. Does "iPhone" differ enough to be used as a trademark for either cell phones or internet phones? A large number of trademark attorneys think otherwise.

There are some other reasons Cisco's case was weak, including the fact that trademarks can and are shared between companies in different markets, but the two above are the main points.


By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2007 9:10:39 AM , Rating: 3
I just want to add the new trademarks will probably be the "Cisco iPhone" vs. the "Apple iPhone", e.g. new marks containing the company name as well. And in the future, you'll probably see a lot of other iPhones as well...with the term potentially becoming as generic as the word "email".


By alifbaa on 2/22/2007 9:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting points...

Would the fact that Infogear also had a patent on the iPhone as a device that would use an internet connection for voice communications make a difference? My understanding is that the patents and the trademark were issued at the same time. If the trademarked and patented product were considered to be in further development since that time, could the 3 years be extended? Consider also that Cisco could show that they were developing it by citing many of the other patents they filed on consumer routers, wireless networking, etc. that would play a role in the use of the iPhone.


By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2007 10:03:12 AM , Rating: 1
> "Would the fact that Infogear also had a patent on the iPhone...make a difference? "

That in itself, no. However if Cisco (and before that, Infogear) could show a continuous, unbroken project timeline over this period, they could potentially escape the abandonment issue. My guess, though, is the project was shelved for several years, then dusted off.


By Natfly on 2/22/2007 10:21:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yet the mark wasn't used until very recently.


Except even before being aquired by Cisco, Infogear was selling products under the iPhone name.
http://www.dailytech.com/Cisco+Gives+Apple+Until+F...

quote:
Does 'iPhone' differ enough to be used as a trademark for either cell phones or internet phones? A large number of trademark attorneys think otherwise.


Yet somehow apple has managed to trademark the most generic terms simply by sticking an 'i' in front of it. Are you saying iLife, iWork, iPhoto, iMovie, and iWeb are all invalid trademarks?


By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2007 10:36:07 AM , Rating: 1
> "Yet somehow apple has managed to trademark the most generic terms simply by sticking an 'i' in front of it..."

You missed the most important part of my statement. You can trademark an apple to sell computers...but not to sell apples. The iPhone mark is a fanciful (and thus strong) usage in relationship to anything...except phones.

> "Infogear was selling products under the iPhone name...."

Briefly is my understanding, and then stopped...for a period which exceeds the legal abandonment period.


By Natfly on 2/22/2007 10:54:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You missed the most important part of my statement. You can trademark an apple to sell computers...but not to sell apples. The iPhone mark is a fanciful (and thus strong) usage in relationship to anything...except phones.


I didn't miss anything, you seem to be failing to see the similarities. How is this any different than selling iMovie to make movies? Or even iTunes selling 'tunes'?


By pm on 2/22/2007 1:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for your informative posts, Masher2. You bring up some very interesting points which I hadn't considered.


By plinden on 2/22/2007 4:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yet the mark wasn't used until very recently. Trademark law does not allow you to hoard marks...if you don't use a mark for three consecutive years, that is prima facie evidence of abandonment.


Not to mention, the only single instance of Cisco using the trademark was a box for an existing internet phone with an "iPhone" sticker slapped on it - http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/images/cit200_470.... - when they realized that Apple was indeed going to release an "iPhone"


By afkrotch on 2/22/2007 2:26:55 AM , Rating: 1
Are you stupid? Cisco has owned the iPhone trademark since 2000. The only thing that Apple even owned with an i(insert random word here) was the iMac and iBook. They didn't even have anything what would resemble the iPhone during then, let alone even consider making something that would use the iPhone name.

Cisco bought out Infogear Technology that had the iPhone trademark. Infogear Technology company has owned the iPhone trademark back in 1997. Well before Apple even decided to name anything i(whatever).

So needless to say, Apple has no respect for the law.


By kyleb2112 on 2/22/2007 4:03:34 AM , Rating: 2
They're two companies who hashed out a deal. It's been known to happen. In fact, I imagine there'll be a similar wrangling with my new company, Microsoft.


By rtrski on 2/22/2007 9:17:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So needless to say, Apple has no respect for the law.


Spare me. If Cisco really thought their case was strong enough to win, they'd have pursued it rather than settled. Parties settle when there are mutually beneficial reasons to do so instead of completing litigation.

Cisco is a plenty big enough company to afford to fight the good fight and not be intimidated by Apple. They chose not too. I'm sure those "confidential details" include sufficient incentive/concessions from Apple of a monetary nature that they were satisfied. The trademark was somewhat speciously generic to begin with and went unused too long; the suit was only ever about forcing Apple to come to closure on the discussions.

(p.s. I'm not an Apple fanboi. Don't own any of their products - even bought a non-iPod music player because I wanted WMA format capability. But I call 'em like I see 'em).


By TomZ on 2/22/2007 9:59:32 AM , Rating: 3
I disagree. The only reason to have it go to court is if the two parties can't settle the matter themselves. If Cisco had a strong case as you presume, it should have only gone to court if properly Apple didn't recognize this.

Also, from what is publicly known about this case, in my opinion Apple screwed up, since they clearly knew about the trademark ahead of time and they should have settled this matter before it became a PR "spectacle" for them. It is a mistake at best, and a reckless disregard for the IP of Cisco at worst.


By Yawgm0th on 2/22/2007 2:14:08 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously Cisco is getting something out of it. No one was scared into backing down by some judge. Now shush.


By TomZ on 2/22/2007 9:25:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, Cisco is probably getting a check. :o)


By masher2 (blog) on 2/22/2007 9:31:21 AM , Rating: 2
But a rather small one, I imagine. :-)


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