MACWORLD - Cisco sues Apple over iPhone name

Cisco Systems has filed suit in federal court to stop Apple from using the name iPhone for its new smartphone

Cisco Systems is suing Apple to prevent it from using the name iPhone for the new smartphone Apple introduced Tuesday at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

Cisco filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court for Northern California seeking an injunction against Apple using the name.

The name iPhone is a registered trademark of Linksys, a division of Cisco. Linksys picked up the iPhone name when it bought a company called Infogear Technology in 2000. Cisco's iPhones are telephone handsets designed for use on a VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) network.

The iPhone has proved to be the most talked-about product at this year's Macworld, and its positive reception has sent Apple's (AAPL) stock surging over the past two days. The company's stock closed at US$97 Wednesday, up nearly 5 percent for the day.

Apple and Cisco have been in negotiations for about two years over Apple's desire to license the iPhone trademark, said Cisco spokesman John Noh. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone Tuesday at Macworld, Cisco had not yet received a signed trademark licensing agreement from Apple, even though the two companies had been negotiating terms as recently as Monday night.

"Because they have been negotiating with us on licensing the trademark all this time, Apple is acknowledging that we own the name," said Noh.

"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 for Cisco.

"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 said.

An Apple executive told PC World magazine that because the Cisco iPhone is a VOIP phone and the Apple iPhone is a cell phone, Apple is not in violation of Cisco's trademark. "They're different products," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of worldwide iPod marketing. The iPhone also includes an iPod music player.

But if Apple was in talks with Cisco to license the iPhone trademark, it would be "a dangerous move" for Apple to start using the iPhone name anyway, said trademark attorney Allonn Levy of law firm Hopkins & Carley in California. "It could be seen as intentional infringement."

Levy says it's possible that Apple could argue that Cisco had not introduced any iPhone products until last summer and that Apple would consider the name available. But he also said Cisco may have filed the lawsuit in order to pressure Apple into signing the trademark licensing agreement the two companies had been negotiating.

Neither Levy nor his firm represent Cisco or Apple.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Mullins

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?