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Judge may rule that the term "iPhone" is too generic for one company to own

A day after Apple announced the iPhone, Cisco Systems quickly filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the computer company infringed on its trademark. True enough, Cisco's consumer arm Linksys had released a product called the iPhone earlier than Apple, and the trademark name "iPhone" had been owned by Cisco for several years already. Despite all this, Apple decided to launch its mobile communications device under the iPhone name anyway -- a move declared as extremely bold by many analysts.

In a report, Cisco mentioned that Apple had repeatedly approached it for permission to use the iPhone name, but no solid agreement had ever come to realization. Now, however, it could be possible that both companies will be allowed to use the iPhone name -- and so would everyone else, says a trademark expert.

According to Brian Banner, a seasoned attorney dealing with intellectual property and trademarks at Rothwell Figg, the "iPhone" name may actually be generic enough that a judge will rule it usable by both Apple and Cisco. The ruling will be under condition however, that a company name be attached to the term "iPhone," like "Apple iPhone" or "Cisco iPhone." Banner mentioned that the term may also be deemed generic enough to use by any company.

"They must have figured the reward would be greater than the risk. They probably did a lot of homework before calling it the iPhone and figured that the registration Cisco has is not a serious impediment," says Banner. But this is definitely not what Cisco thinks. Cisco representatives indicated that it will vigorously defend what it owns. Apple on the other hand disagrees with Cisco. "We believe that Cisco's U.S. trademark is tenuous at best," said Apple representative Katie Cotton. "We are the first company to use the iPhone name for a cell phone and we're confident we will prevail."

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too generic?!
By bigpow on 1/12/2007 1:07:09 PM , Rating: 2

I hope that's just Apple talking trash, if not, I hope Apple will see a lot of iEverything on the market, probably from a lot of lousy companies - been wanting to use the iSuck names

RE: too generic?!
By sdsdv10 on 1/12/2007 1:38:40 PM , Rating: 2
Just to be accurate, it was not Apple saying it is too generic. It was, and I quote
According to Brian Banner,
a patent/trademark laywer not associated with Apple.

The Apple spokesperson simply said they feel the Cisco's trademark position is tenuous. Meaning Apple feels it has a reasonably good chance of winning(not 100% as it never is). Just look back to the settlement with Creative over the iPod GUI. Yeah they sued Creative, but after seeing all the court documents they didn't think winning was likely, so they offered Creative $100 million and were done with it.

RE: too generic?!
By Jkm3141 on 1/12/2007 4:04:54 PM , Rating: 2
hah are you saying that Cisco is a lousy company? Because if you are, that in its self is bullshit. Cisco is roughly twice the size of Apple (24 Billion, as opposed to 13 Billion) and essentially all products put out by Cisco are of extreme quality.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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