It looks like Steve Jobs jumped the gun in sticking with the iPhone name, which is owned by Cisco. The two companies were in negotiation as Jobs took the stage on Tuesday to introduce his new mobile device, but didn't find a common ground...at least not soon enough. Cisco's final efforts to make a deal were apparently rebuffed or ignored by Jobs. The two companies had an idea to share the brand, to make clear their differentiation (which would be hard to do), to have their products interoperate, and to announce the deal by Macworld.
David Berlind covers much of the iPhone trademark history here. Following is Cisco's release:
Cisco today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Apple, Inc., seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco’s registered iPhone trademark.
Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after completing the acquisition of Infogear, which previously owned the mark and sold iPhone products for several years. Infogear’s original filing for the trademark dates to March 20, 1996. Linksys, a division of Cisco, has been shipping a new family of iPhone products since early last year. On Dec. 18, Linksys expanded the iPhone® family with additional products.
“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, Cisco.
“There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission. “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,” Chandler concluded.
With its lawsuit, Cisco is seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco’s iPhone trademark. For more information on the Cisco iPhone product line, please visit www.linksys.com/iphone.
We also have posted the Cisco v Apple Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition Complaint document.