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Cisco sues Apple over the use of the name iPhone

The name iPhone is a trademark of Linksys, a division of Cisco. Linksys chose the name iPhone when it acquired Infogear Technology Corp in 2000. Cisco iPhones are handsets designed for use on VoIP (Voice over IP) networks.

Apple and Cisco have been in negotiations for about two years due to Apple’s desire to license the iPhone brand, as Cisco spokesman John Noh has stated. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone last Tuesday at MacWorld Expo, Cisco had not yet received a signed trademark agreement from Apple, even though the two companies were negotiating the terms of the agreement. until Monday night.

According to statements by Noh, “Because they were negotiating with us the license agreement for the use of the brand during all this time, Apple had the knowledge that the brand was our property.”

“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly requested permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,” says Mark Chandler (Cisco Senior Vice President and General Counsel).

According to Chandler, “The current iPhone is not the iPhone we will see in the future. The potential for convergence between the home phone, the mobile phone, the work phone and the PC is limitless, which is why protecting our brand is so important to us. “

According to statements by an Apple executive to PC World magazine, because the Cisco iPhone is a VoIP phone and the Apple iPhone is a mobile phone, Apple would not be violating the Cisco brand. “They are different products,” says Greg Joswiak, vice president of worldwide marketing for iPod. The iPhone also incorporates an iPod music player.

But if Apple has been in talks with Cisco to license the iPhone brand, it could be seen as a “risky move” on Apple’s part to start using the iPhone name, in any event, as Allonn Levy of the Hopkins law firm points out. & Carley (San Jose, California); “It could be seen as an intentional infringement.”

Levy indicates that it is possible that Apple could argue that Cisco did not introduce any iPhone product until last summer, and that therefore Apple could consider that such a brand was available. But it also says that Cisco may have filed a lawsuit to pressure Apple into signing a license-use agreement that the two companies have been negotiating.