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It may not be as sexy, but this iPhone was here first
Apple iPhone = iPWNED?

Everyone knew this move had to be coming. While Apple may have popularized the little "i" with products like iMac, iBook, iPod, iTunes and iLife, the iPhone name has already been taken. Cisco has owned the trademark for iPhone since 2000 when it was purchased from Infogear. Infogear originally filed for the trademark in 1996 (well before Apple jumped into the "i" business). Cisco just recently ushered the name into service with a new line of VoIP devices marketed by Cisco's Linksys division.

Although Apple and Cisco have been in talks for quite some time over the iPhone name, no agreement was ever reached. Nevertheless, Apple boldly decided yesterday to announce the iPhone at MacWorld. Cisco isn't too happy about the move and has filed a lawsuit against Apple, Inc.

"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," said Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel for Cisco. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission."

Cisco isn't going down without a fight on this one and it intends to fully protect its line of iPhone products. "Today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone. The potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless, which is why it is so important for us to protect our brand," said Chandler.

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By xphile on 1/11/2007 3:14:23 AM , Rating: 5
I was actually just correcting the original article by Brandon and pointing out what he was inadvertantly implying.

Quite clearly Cisco is in the right on this without any doubt and to think they would shrug and let this one go is ridiculous and I'm fully aware that Cisco is a old school company, big in size, finances and more than big in knowledge of how these issues play out.

They know Apple has gotten to where it is almost based on one product alone. To let them have a possible second one using their own trademark for free is ludicrous. But it was clear from Cisco's statements on the day Jobs announced the product that they thought it meant Apple had accepted what was obviously a long and protracted negotiation by announcing the name.

Within 24 hours they are filing suit, showing Apple have obviously NOT formally accepted whatever was on the table. That to my mind is plain bad manners on Apples part which I find strange in one sense, but even stranger is it is stupid business sense. Practically any reasonable offer to use the name "iPhone" would have been well worth Apple paying for. The depth of penetration in the market that it creates longterm following the iPod just cant be underestimated given what the product aims to do.

To think "we will steal the name for now and make a buzz, and worry if we lose it later" is super un-Apple dumb. You go to court and maybe loose the right to use it, and just hope the previous buzz is remembered when it is finally sold as the Apple Phone or whatever, that just doesnt make sense when you already know the name alone once announced is a third of your product marketing base all by itself.

If it goes to court Cisco will win. Cisco will deserve to win. If Apple lose the right to use the name immediately, it will hurt them. If they lose it later by a year or more it will only hurt them more the longer the brandname has been established. I cant see that Jobs and Apple Inc are that stupid they dont know this, so I suspect there is more to this story than meets they eye today.

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer
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