Cisco sues Apple over the iPhone name

Cisco sues Apple over the iPhone name

Summary: 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...

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TOPICS: Cisco
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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.

Topic: Cisco

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83 comments
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  • Cisco has every right

    It seems to me that Apple thinks they own the right to put a lower case "i" in front of word and call it their own. Well in this case they do not it would appear.
    bobiroc
  • Who didn't see this coming...

    Last I heard though, the paperwork was done and only needed signing. I wonder what happened...

    This may be a CYA move by Cisco just in case the deal falls through at the last minute.

    It could also be a pressure move to get Apple to sign a more lucritive contract with Cisco.

    Business sucks. Patents suck. It's all teeth and ass-cheeks. Some days you bite, some days you're bitten.
    BitTwiddler
  • Stole Apple name

    As I recall they stole the Apple name as well.
    duclod
    • Yeah, Red delicious sure is angry!NT

      .
      Tigertank
      • Actually, they did.

        Apple Corp. wsa the compaany that produced the Beatles singles, if not albums (some may be old enough to remember the 45RPM Beatles records with a whole Granny Smith apple taking up most of the label of the A side of the record, and a sliced-in-half-vertically Granny Smith apple on the B-side label).

        Apple Computer licensed the name from Apple Corp. on the condition that they would never enter the music business and thus compete with Apple Corp. Apple reneged on this agreement in stages: first by having sound chips capable of limited music in the Apple ///, Macintosh, and IIgs computers, and later more blatantly with the iPod and iTunes.
        Joel R
        • Yeah right

          Sure, Apple Inc., is producing and recording artists and releasing their music.

          What planet are you on?

          I remember the "Apple" music lable and I am sure I have at least 20 of their produced albums. This has nothing to do with having sound chips in a computer.
          rrick
          • Obviously, you are on the planet Apple.

            Whether you produce records, or furnish sound devices, you are providing the means of delivering entertainment content. And THAT is why Apple was sued by Apple Records. DUH!!!

            Really, the fact that someone actually had to explain that to you pretty much says it all. Just go back to your day job...brown-nosing Jobs.
            cyberian_z
  • Justice will be served...

    I am no fan of Cisco either, but my rep and I fully support this lawsuit. I threw Cisco out of here years ago when my rep suggested deploying RRAS and ISA Server. And the results were awesome. Last metrics I checked, we had about 80% connection rate for our VPN solution. Only about 50 help desk calls a day for VPN issues. That being said, Cisco needs to go after Apple, if for no other reason than to put Jobs in his place. My rep said him and all the other reps were fuming that some of their customers were thinking of buying an Apple branded phone. One of them had the nerve to say his Windows Mobile Phone crashes and requires rebooting. So my rep mentioned to him that I have 2 Windows Mobile devices running an embedded version of Microsoft Cluster Service. I have full phone failover so when I patch one phone, I can receive calls on the other. All the reps are taking me out tonight to get some more words of wisdom.
    Mike Cox
    • 9.5

      "... I have 2 Windows Mobile devices running an embedded version of Microsoft Cluster Service ..."

      HA HA HA HA
      markbn
    • iBrand

      You know, it is not who owns the trademark that is really relevant here; it is who is recognised by the i???? device name.

      When I saw the Cisco "iPhone" product name, I thought that that degraded the whole i???? name brand. In fact when ever I see something branded as i????, I think of Apple.

      Sure, Cisco own the trademark, but if Apple was to produce a stapler, I would immediately assume the product to be called iStapler.

      The worldwide consumer market associates the the iBrand with Apple Inc., everyone else is a fake or a hack.
      rrick
      • and everyone associates the word 'idiot' with your post

        The consumer market only associates iPod with Apple.

        If you noticed, and obviously it escaped your notice, Apple does NOT call it iNano or iShuffle

        This is no different than everyone trying to jump on the 'e-brand' bandwagon just a few years ago.

        Apple's Job suffers from the same arrogance as Bill Gates. These egomaniacs always start believing their own hype. Cisco should nail the prick to the wall.
        cyberian_z
        • Get your facts right

          Maybe you should [b]check your facts[/b] before you go around calling people idiots.

          I will use your examples to assist you, iNano = "iPod nano", iShuffle = "iPod shuffle"

          I hope you are on the team representing Cisco, Apple will have nothing to worry about.
          rrick
          • Message has been deleted.

            cyberian_z
          • not to mention

            Before there was an iPod there was an iMac
            RomanGalleon
      • but, but...

        iApple didn't even come up with the "i" in front of a word, so who is the real pretender?
        shraven
      • iBrand doesn't matter

        According to this article, Infogear, which was acquired by Cisco, had this trademark since 1996. I don?t know when Apple started with the ?i? branding, but the iPod didn't come out until 2001. And it isn?t like Linksys has the rights to the name and isn?t using it. There is an iPhone on the market from them RIGHT NOW.

        Just because Apple now brands everything with an "i" prefix doesn't mean they have rights to everything that starts with an "i". Infogear (Linksys / Cicso) had it first. Apple needs to find a new name.

        "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."
        ITguy5678
        • iBrand, I thought it was Pod

          I thought it was the pod name that Apple was sueing everyone over. I guess the next step is to claim every brand name with an A, P, L, E, I, O, or D in it.
          mcmcp9
      • Apple is'nt and hasn't been the only one...

        ...to use an i[i]Brand[/i] name. Apple isn't even close to being the first. The i[i]Brand[/i] names are just as popular as the eBrand names.

        There ia an iMail server from Ipswitch, an iNews computer system from Avid, an iPen optical pen/mouse, an iRadio from Motorola, iTouch by Logitech, a Personal Media Recorder called iRecord from iRecord, a comedy portal called iLaugh, a trading company called iShares opened the NYSE this morning, iSee Systems produces software called iThink, and as I recall, there is a reminder software called iRecall. I can go on all day!

        Should all of them give up there name to Apple because when Apple also jumped on the bandwagon, iTunes, and iPod took off!?!

        I don't think so. The i[i]Brand[/i] doesn't exist. Apple has no claim without an agreement with Cisco.
        Logics
    • I've got to admit

      Even though your message is getting old and tires, your deliver just gets better and better.
      shraven
  • Lots of free advertising for the iPhone

    This is not a big deal. The deal will either get worked out or the name changed. Meanwhile, Apple gets to keep the iphone in the spotlight without paying a penny for advertising.

    What if someone at Apple and Cisco had already worked out a secret deal and planned this whole lawsuit thing to keep the hype alive?

    Of course, we wouldn't ever know since getting caught at something like that would cause serious legal repercussions for all involved.
    jjon2121