Apple vs. Cisco: How important is a trademark you don't use?

I recently reviewed the new Linksys/Cisco CIT-400. This phone is in the iPhone product line that Cisco is suing Apple over.
Written by Alan Graham, Contributor

I recently reviewed the new Linksys/Cisco CIT-400. This phone is in the iPhone product line that Cisco is suing Apple over.

Cisco is fighting Apple because they had the audacity to use the iPhone name for their new mobile phone. This iPhone trademark is sooooo important to Cisco they want Apple to pay their legal fees and even go as far as giving up all profits made on the Apple phone. And why shouldn't Cisco prevail here? They've obviously put millions into the iPhone brand and actually have had product on the shelves for months and months with that trademark all over it...  


...that's funny...no iPhone brand anywhere on the CIT-400 I'm holding at the moment. Not on the packaging, not on the device itself. How can that be? I must have been sent a really early version of this device that dates waaaaay back. Maybe it came direct from the factory and they didn't have time to stencil it. Yeah...that's it.

Let's go online and check this out.

We'll start with the Linksys site.

Next -->

Well clearly the trademark and brand is right there.  



Let's zoom in a little closer



Well there it is plain as day...let's go in a little closer using the high res TIFF on their site...


I've only been using Photoshop for 10+ years, so I'm no expert...but that looks like it might be Photoshopped. Note the difference in the text that says Phone Line which is stenciled on the base station and the iPhone text. But hey...maybe this is just a really really good screening job.

Next -->

Regardless, it is obvious I'm just not looking in the right place on my own phone. Let's go back and look at that...


 Hmmm...this really is strange...my logo is missing.

Well obviously something isn't 'right here. Let's go over to Amazon and look up the product because it went on sale recently, and surely it is on those models. I obviously have a special review model.



Not there either. Well it is likely this is a really old photo. When did this product start selling on Amazon?


Whoa...so it went on sale just about a month and a half ago. And Cisco let these units go out without the branding on them? Someone obviously made a HUGE mistake because this trademark is REALLY important to Cisco. 

Next -->

Let's go back to Amazon and look at an older iPhone model that has been out since last August. For sure it will have the trademark on it by now. Let's see the CIT300...


Aha! That's more like it. There is the CIT300 iPhone with the logo on it plane as day...take that Apple. Whew, so it is obvious who is in the right here...

It's Cis....whaaaaaaaa?!?!?!


 Wait...where is the iPhone trademark on the CIT300 photo on their site?!?!?


Okay I'll just zoom in on that area with their high res TIFF in case my eyes are playing tricks on me.




Nope...not there. Well isn't that strange...the trademark is on the Amazon photo this time, but NOT the Linksys site?

Well since Amazon has the proper logo, I'm sure it is just an error on the Linksys site. I'll go look at another vendor to double check just in case, because I'm sure it is just an oversight with their marketing department.

Next -->

Let''s see...how about CDW...



Arghhh! This is just damn peculiar. Amazon shows the logo, and CDW and Linksys do not.  

Well this is just darn confusing and I don't know what to make of it. I mean Cisco has been very clear how important this trademark is to them. And I can't believe they would just use this as a strategy to strong arm Apple into getting what they want...after they saw how popular the Apple iPhone was and how much press it was getting. I mean they wouldn't do that just to get press themselves...after all...they were there first...

...weren't they?


PS...thanks to a commenter that asked me if the markings were on the phone! 

Editorial standards