Blog Post

“iPhone” Troubles: Cisco is Suing

I asked earlier if anyone knew how Apple was using the iPhone name when it belongs to Cisco and their VOIP handset. Then I pointed to a ZDNet post that made it sound as if Apple and Cisco were working things out. Then just 12 minutes ago, this came up on Yahoo:
Cisco Sues Apple Over User of iPhone Name

Uh, oh. Cisco’s statement makes it sound an awful lot like they’re not willing to budge for Apple on this one. What do you think? I think I hope it’s not called iPhone when it launches in June…

EDIT: Per Weldon’s comment, the Cisco News Release

27 Responses to ““iPhone” Troubles: Cisco is Suing”

  1. Steve Cannon

    Some of you guys are unbelievable!! Apple is Litigation-Larry when it comes to anyone even coming close to their “Names” and such. There are numerous cases where Apple made people give up their domain names and close sites down and most recently they have been attacking bloggers who talk about the PocketPC mod to make Windows Mobile 5 look like iPhone BUT when someone comes after them to give them a taste of their own medicine, you Steve Jobs lemmings make comments like “It is a shame” and “I can’t believe that Cisco is being so juvenile about the whole thing”. I like Apple and Steve Jobs is cool but hypocrisy Sucks!!

  2. Also, from what I understand, there could be an issue of Abandonment. The fact that Cisco did not have a product for a period of years after the trademark was issued. Not being a lawyer, I have no clue as to the merit but it has been discussed on a number of lawyer blogs. Should be interesting. Hell, who knows, maybe could be ‘creative’ly bought off for 100 million?

  3. and this is very interesting:The application to bag the word “IPHONE” was lodged by Apple Computer Inc on October 17, 2002 – a year after the first iPod rolled off its Chinese production line.” Did Cisco buy infogear infogear in 2002?

  4. Man, Nick, you beat me to the punch on this one.

    I can’t believe that Cisco is being so juvenile about the whole thing. I realize that you have to protect your trademark, but come on! If the two companies really were discussing licensing, then why bother wasting so much money on legal fees over a trademark on a product that no one was buying anyway.

    Of course, Apple kind of dug them selves into this one too. After the success of the iPod, iMac, iLife, and i…everything, it’s no surprise that other companies are picking up the prefix in an effort to make products sound sexier.

  5. Grant (divigation)

    I love the idea that it will be something other than iPhone. It really is a shame to consider how brilliant this device is and then call it something like an iPhone.

  6. For more flavor on this suit and why, please view our SVP and General Counsel Mark Chandler’s blog at: http://blogs.cisco.com/news/2007/01/update_on_ciscos_iphone_tradem.html

    He states, in part, “this is not a suit against Apple’s innovation, their modern design, or their cool phone. It is not a suit about money or royalties. This is a suit about trademark infringement.”

    Comment by John Earnhardt – January 10, 2007 at 8:24 pm

  7. No he isn’t. He is letting people get used to the phone being an iPod. I think they knew this would happen all along. The price they will pay for attorney’s to fight this will be worth its weight in gold in free publicity. Then after all the media keeps reporting it between now and June, they will say, “OK, call it the Apple Phone.”

    But in all the time between then and now, we hear about the iphone every week (or more)

  8. John –
    Thanks so much for the comments. I fully agree and understand your position. Being that I dig both companies (as a Cisco Engineer and a crazy Apple fan) it’d be nice to see both work things out amicably. I also hope that Apple gives up the ghost and renames their iPhone, as the i-names are beyond old.

  9. COMMENT FROM CISCO – Intellectual property is the lifeblood of Silicon Valley and we all have to protect our property. The iPhone trademark is owned by Cisco, as noted in your story. We had hoped to reach an agreement to share our trademark with Apple, yet they decided to use the name without our agreement, so we, unfortunately, are having to go to court to stop them from using the name. This is not about money. We still hope we can reach an agreement, but when your neighbor steals your property, you have no recourse other than to call the cops and file a complaint. Full Cisco statement at: http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2007/corp_011007.html