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Summary:

This whole iPhone thing is very confusing. How will Cisco Systems and Apple reconcile the brand? This was a question that was also on the minds of those who were in attendance at the Cisco Q&A for press at 11:30, right after the John Chambers keynote […]

This whole iPhone thing is very confusing. How will Cisco Systems and Apple reconcile the brand? This was a question that was also on the minds of those who were in attendance at the Cisco Q&A for press at 11:30, right after the John Chambers keynote at CES.

Cisco’s Chief Development Officer Charles Giancarlo opened the Q&A by saying, “Many of you will likely have questions about an announcement that was made approximately 10 a.m., the Apple iPhone. As you know Cisco owns the iPhone name and it has been in use since 1996.” (Katie was in attendance and Giancarlo told her that the brand name came to Cisco via acquisition of Infogear in 2000.)

He went on to add, “I will read this prepared statement and we will not be answering any more questions on this subject.”

“Given Apple’s numerous requests for permission to use Cisco’s trademark over the past several years and our extensive discussions with them recently, it is our belief that with its announcement today, Apple intends to agree to the final document and public statement that was distributed to them last night and that addressed a few remaining items. We expect to receive a signed document today.”

That’s the kind of press statement you could have expected from the old Soviet Politburo. Did Cisco license the name to Apple? A simple yes or no would have worked. If yes, then why did they introduce the Linksys product line in first place? Publicity ploy? Or did they offer Apple a deal that the Count of Cupertino didn’t much care for? Or is this a John Gotti kinda move via press statement? More questions than answers! We are waiting for Apple to call us back.

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  1. It’s simple really. What Cisco is saying is:

    Hey geek, gimme my money or rename your phone.

  2. Its seems pretty obvious that Apple had approached them but never agreed to the Cisco terms as recent as last night.

    Apple, however, went ahead without an agreement so Cisco assumes their most recent proposal was accepted.

  3. Charlie Sierra Tuesday, January 9, 2007

    Jobs/Apple will let the market decide and thus Cisco will lose.

  4. Apple should have come up with a better name than “iPhone”. The “iPhone” name is lame, imho.

    iMac = computer
    iPod = music player
    iPhone = phone

    Come on. Get creative like you used to be. Product marketing?

  5. Might note that it’s not out in the wild yet and they did change from iTV to AppleTV. Bet it’s just a game of chicken with Cisco so if the terms are right, ok, it could be iPhone. If not, ApplePhone is fine too. With the corporate name change I wouldn’t doubt that Apple will also be changing their whole naming scheme. After all, the “i” is getting a little dated and the “i”nternet isn’t unique anymore.

    Just my 2 cents ;-)

  6. A lot of trademark law revolves around amorphous subjects like “Can Company A’s product be confused with Company B’s product because of the name conflict?” In other words, even though the name “Nike” is trademarked, you could theoretically get away with naming a vacuum cleaner “Nike” if it wasn’t clear to a court that the two were similar enough to be mistaken for one another.

    For this reason, I’m guessing Cisco wanted to get a product out there quickly in order to establish the brand in the open market, however weakly. They probably spent next to no money on it and are basically using it as a strengthening factor in their negotiations, knowing how much Apple wants the name.

    Just a guess though…

  7. Lame or not, the EVERYONE would instantly know what an iPhone was and who made it. That’s good product marketing.

    -T

  8. This is interesting and somewhat overlooked topic. Im guessing the rest of this week we will hear much more about this. This could shape up to be a big battle.

  9. They can always use “apple phone”.. Remember.. It’s not iTv anymore, it’s “apple tv”.

  10. Michael Specht Tuesday, January 9, 2007

    The lawyers will be busy on this one over the next few days, in the end I suspect Apple will win, they already “own” the brand even without the legal backing.

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