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Cisco VP Explains Lawsuit Against Apple 303

Posted by Zonk
from the all-very-rational dept.
Dekortage writes "The day after Apple announced its iPhone, Cisco sued over the name. Mark Chandler, Cisco's SVP and General Counsel, has posted an explanation of the suit on his blog: 'For the last few weeks, we have been in serious discussions with Apple over how the two companies could work together and share the iPhone trademark. ...I was surprised and disappointed when Apple decided to go ahead and announce their new product with our trademarked name without reaching an agreement. It was essentially the equivalent of "we're too busy."' What did Cisco want? '[We] wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future.'" Another reader wrote to mention that already, Cisco's trademark might be in trouble in Europe.
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Cisco VP Explains Lawsuit Against Apple

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  • Find a better name (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superangrybrit (600375) on Friday January 12, 2007 @12:54PM (#17575458)
    2 years buys a lot of time to find a better name than some fisher price type naming. I thought Apple was an artistic company?
    • by InsaneProcessor (869563) on Friday January 12, 2007 @12:58PM (#17575558)
      I just trademarked "iDoorStop", "iPaperWieght", and "iNotFunny"
      • by ubrgeek (679399) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:02PM (#17575678)
        Well, there's no doubt you'll be able to win any lawsuit contesting, "iNotFunny" :)

        It's a joke people ... There's no Troll here. Move along ..
    • by Alaren (682568) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:01PM (#17576996)

      You know, I can see how language like "fisher price type naming" and the rhetorical question at the end could be seen as flamebait, but only for zealots. This post concisely (if somewhat cruelly) makes many excellent points.

      The fact is, "iPhone" is not nearly as original as even "iPod." It's not just that putting "i" in front of things is only creative to a point, "iPod" is clearly more original and creative than "iMusicPlayer" or "iMP3" or "iSong" because "Pod" doesn't immediately inspire music.

      Which is not to say that "iPhone" isn't a valuable name, but Apple is an artistic company, and until recently they were largely a "we don't play dirty like Redmond" company. Sure, corporate tactics are rarely what you'd call "kind," and Apple has had their fair share of lawsuits, but their use of iPhone after literally years of failed negotiations with Cisco is flat-out brazen disregard. It is the sort of petulant "but we're so much cooler than Cisco" that I might expect from Microsoft, but never from Apple. Even their teflon veneer and Jobs' reality-distortion field aren't enough to make them look like the good guys on this one.

      Apple could, I believe, easily have come up with an alternative name. I believe it well within their creative capacity. They came up with "iPod," after all, and their use of the word "pod" has proven an extremely strong trademark in the audio realm, for many legal reasons I won't go into here. They could do the same with their new phone, but they've chosen instead to select the predictable and arguably generic name "iPhone" despite obvious legal issues.

      The only question I have is whether Apple's legal department is doing shoddy work, or Jobs just disregarded the legal advice they provided to him?

      Anyhow, if I still had mod points I would mod parent up, despite the tone. Apple screwed up, and went against much of the good precedent they've been setting for themselves. They can do better.

      • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:08PM (#17578326) Homepage
        I don't get why Apple doesn't just call it the iPod Phone. iPod is an existing, well-established, trusted brand. The iPhone hardware is an iPod -- that is, it gives you all the same features. It just has phone and camera features added on. So what? Nothing about the name "iPod" says "MP3 player." They already added video playback and nobody batted an eye. What better way to revitalize the iPod brand than to add a line of products with phone features?
      • by Pentavirate (867026) on Friday January 12, 2007 @04:31PM (#17580116) Homepage Journal
        Cringely suspects [pbs.org] that the whole thing is a marketing stunt. They had 2 major announcements at mac world:

        1) iPhone
        2) iTV

        They both had trademark issues. iPhone was with Cisco and iTV was with eyeTV. They changed the iTV to Apple TV. They could have just as easily changed iPhone to Apple Phone or something else. Why didn't they do it? Cringely writes that he thinks it's for its marketing value. It guarantees that iPhone and the lawsuit will stay in the news long enough for everyone in the country to have heard of it. I don't know if this is the real reason but it does fit the facts. I wonder if the cost of a lawsuit is less than a TON of commercials and other advertisements.
  • Cringely's opinion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cgrayson (22160) * on Friday January 12, 2007 @12:54PM (#17575468) Homepage

    Robert X. Cringely talks about this in his weekly post today [pbs.org]. He points out that Apple already conceded the "i"-prefixed name from the iTV to Elgato, makers of the "EyeTV":

    So Apple changed its marketing, diluting its whole "iThis" and "iThat" naming strategy in deference to Elgato, a company they could buy with a weekend's earnings from the iTunes Store, but chose to go toe-to-toe with Cisco, a company that's bigger, richer, and just as mean as Apple any day.

    He says it all boils down to big publicity stunt, wherein Apple will get a big, free publicity boost when they finally back down and rename it the "Apple Phone". He also goes on to give his explanation for why the iPhone^H^H^H^H^H^HApple Phone won't support Cingular's 3G network.

    • by creimer (824291)
      It won't be long before we get the massive market re-branding: aPhone, aMac, and aPod.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PygmySurfer (442860)
      So Apple changed its marketing, diluting its whole "iThis" and "iThat" naming strategy in deference to Elgato, a company they could buy with a weekend's earnings from the iTunes Store

      Right, even though when they first announced it they claimed iTV was only a code name. It couldn't be because of the numerous other [wikipedia.org] products or services already called iTV. I doubt Apple "backed-off" from the iTV name just to appease El Gato. iTV was always a code name, NOT a product name.

      I certainly fail to see the dilution
      • by ceoyoyo (59147)
        End of June, I expect. An iPhone or iPod sized device with that screen that I can put my own apps on? Sold.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        If the hard drives were available, this would be a possibility.

        Amusingly enough, once you install Skype on a little device like that, and go to Starbucks, your device no longer needs that silly old cell-phone provider. Sure, it's not that reliable, because you can't get wifi everywhere, but if you want to find an iPod killer, there it is. Apple's too big to gamble it all on a completely open device like that. If a small company just built it, and damned the torpedoes, (the MPAA would have fits for the
        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:47PM (#17577910) Homepage Journal

          This is why geeks don't predict successes like the iPod. Sorry to pick on you, but you're just the last person to mention this.

          The reason people subscribe to cellphone service is they want a phone that "just works". The number one complaint of users of mobile phone services is not that it's too expensive, it's that there are blackspots, and/or dropped calls. In the US, most plans are effectively unlimited - you're given unlimited nights and weekends, unlimited in-network calls, and a huge bucket of minutes to use for everything else, that you're never likely to use up. People might complain it's $50 rather than $25, but that's the cost anyway, regardless of how you try to work around it.

          Even if we graft Skype onto cellphones, you're losing the "just works" aspect of it. Calls are dropped if you go out of range, so no walking around any great distances while using your Skype phone. Not unless you plan to subscribe to an unlimited data plan, and then... what are you using Skype for? Where's the cost benefit?

          Mobile operators, in any case, are fixing the issues so you wouldn't have any advantage from such a system anyway. In particular, GSM operators are adopting GAN/UMA [wikipedia.org], which seamlessly causes the upper level GSM protocols to route themselves over 802.11 if there's a WLAN in range. So no dropped calls. While some operators may charge the earth for this, most are likely to simply drop airtime charges for calls routed this way. That's what T-Mobile USA is proposing, for instance.

          The phone that doesn't work when you go out of range of a microcell was tried in the early nineties anyway. The technology CT2 [wikipedia.org] was designed for that purpose. It was a flop. People didn't want it, even if it was cheaper than cellular. What they wanted was a phone that works everywhere. That works the same way everywhere.

    • MacPhone (Score:2, Interesting)

      by takev (214836)
      What I find very strange is that Apple choose to use the iPhone name, as they wanted to use the Mac trademark more. I can understand that they would use the iPhone name as a continuation of the iPod brand, or to lift on the rumors of the press.

      As the phone is basically a Mac OS X machine (if that is correct information) I would have expected they would call it the MacPhone.
      From this point of view it would be unlikely to be called the Apple Phone. MacPhone also sound nicer.
      • While the phone may run Mac OS X it doesn't fall into the typical Mac line up so calling it MacPhone doesn't quite fit. In addition MacPhone sounds like a piece of software (IMHO). I suppose there is some precedent for your speculation with the AirMac (in Japan). I could see Apple Phone, but it is a mouthful.

        How about iCell? It won't go over well with ex-Cons, but that's probably not their target audience.

        • Apple doesn't just use the 'i' prefix, it also has used 'e', most famously in the eMac. Supposedly at one point, this stood for "everybody", as in "The Mac for everybody".

          Perhaps if they also combined it with a short, simple, word that reflects the mobility of the device. That is, after all, the selling point of mobile phones. It is a device for the person on the Go, you can go anywhere with it.

          But I'm failing really to come up with a simple combination of 'e', and a word like "Go" that reflects that m

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by mrchaotica (681592) *

            Well, they can't call it the "iGo" because then Toyota [wikipedia.org] would get mad.

            Personally, I think it ought to be called "iPod" -- the multiple functions certainly make it more of a "pod" than those things that were basically only media players ever were.

            And yes, eGo would be a great name for it too! Of course, then they'd need to partner with iD to put mobile Doom on it...

  • by frieked (187664) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:00PM (#17575602) Homepage Journal
    You seriously have to wonder what were they thinking when they named it the iPhone without an agreement in place. One can only speculate that they planned to change the name all along but they needed to get the news out there about it and this was the best way.
    Apple has no chance if this does make it to court... The fact that they've been trying to license the name for years proves that they acknowledge Cisco's trademark as valid.
    • by reidconti (219106)
      I think it was something like this:

      1. Attempt to negotiate with Cisco
      2. Lackeys say "Steve, you can't call it the iPhone at MacWorld tomorrow, we don't have an agreement in place yet with Cisco!"
      3. His Steveness: "Then you're not fucking trying hard enough, I'm gonna call it what I fucking want to call it, you figure it out!"
      4. ???
      5. Profit!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg (145172)
      One can only speculate that they. . .

      Thought they had a deal. A legitimate understanding through negotiations in good faith (and the courts will often uphold good faith agreements if you can prove they actually existed). But they were dorks overanxious to use to name at the Grand Ball (which Cisco knew and manipulated) and put themselves at the mercy of Cisco who can now be a dick about the whole thing.

      If Apple had said "We haven't named it yet," everyone would have just called it the iPhone anyway and delu
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by e4g4 (533831)
        Just did a quick search on iPhone trademarks at the USPTO, and there appear to be at least two other live marks (not owned by cisco) for "iPhone" here [uspto.gov], and here [uspto.gov], IANATML, but perhaps Apple believes the term to be diluted already?
    • Well it does seem like a very funny move. One possibility, I suppose, is that someone at Apple messed up, claimed it was worked out, and it wasn't. It may be that Apple decided they really wanted the trademark and they decided to just use it, and work the whole thing out in court.

      It seems to me that it's kind of a lost cause for Cisco. People on rumor sites have been calling this thing an "iPhone" for years, even when it was just a rumored R&D project. It has so overwhelmingly been referred to as t

    • You seriously have to wonder what were they thinking when they named it the iPhone without an agreement in place.

      I think it's very simple: they were dead set against leaking anything about what they were going to announce at MacWorld, so they couldn't risk divulging anything about it to Cisco and felt they could just smooth things over after the fact. They bet they could negotiate for the trademark with Cisco later. They didn't count on Cisco actually releasing a product first, but by then Apple's secret
    • by MoneyT (548795)
      he fact that they've been trying to license the name for years proves that they acknowledge Cisco's trademark as valid.

      Wasn't there a recent ruling whereby someone paying royalties on a patent could still challenge the validity of said patent? Seems like you could apply it similarly in this case.
  • by The_Abortionist (930834) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:00PM (#17575632) Homepage
    Suckling at Apple's dick might be a good way of getting a dose protein by many slashdotters. But it's hypocritical.

    Apple is ALL ABOUT:

    -DRM
    -Proprietary hardware
    -Proprietary software
    -Closed protocols
    -Lock-ins
    -selected compatibility

    And just about everything else relating to total control. It's CEO is also know for pulling tantrums.

    If you prefer Apple because its one and only way fits well, that's fine. But please stop looking down others (Microsoft users, Linux, etc), because you're the inferior drones.
    • by LoudMusic (199347) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:10PM (#17575854)
      Yep. Yep yep. Yep. Yep yep yep.

      You are correct.

      But! Apple's products are simple and easy to use. They do what they're designed for. And they are elegant. In a lot of cases a Mac is the right tool for the job. It does, however, frighten me how quickly the 'geek community' has gotten onboard with Apple. Steve Jobs is the best salesman in the world. He sold the smartest community (geeks, by definition) on their biggest enemy (closed everything), and made them love what he's doing. Rather appalling if you ask me.
      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:16PM (#17575978) Homepage Journal
        First off, geeks aren't nearly as smart as they like to pretend they are.

        Second, Close sourse isn't the 'enemy' of geeks. Almost everything Geek enjoy is closed in some manner. DOn't believe me? DO a spiderman comic* and see how fast you get closed down.

        Many geeks use windows; which is less open, and not as powerfull as OSX.

        Apple makes toys that make geeks wet their pants.

        *or any number of things, I chose comics as an example.
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Many geeks use windows; which is less open, and not as powerfull as OSX.

          Neither one is as open as Linux, nor arguably as powerful (a lot of functionality missing in OSX is in the Linux kernel let alone userspace apps that aren't ported to Win32 OR OSX yet.)

          Or of course, *BSD, etc.

          Yet we keep doing it, shooting ourselves in the foot. I'm getting my Linux on lately (I'm actually using Ubuntu right now) and well, I'm glad I'm a geek, because if I were an ordinary user I'd never have figured out how to get G

      • It's because of this simplicity of Apple products that I am surprised that Jobs didn't just come out and say: "This is our phone. You know. The one everyone's been calling the iPhone." And then market it as Apple Phone (Like Apple TV).
        • by LoudMusic (199347)

          It's because of this simplicity of Apple products that I am surprised that Jobs didn't just come out and say: "This is our phone. You know. The one everyone's been calling the iPhone." And then market it as Apple Phone (Like Apple TV).

          I'm sure it's been said a lot already, but I bet they move to a less "i" focused naming scheme and a more "[Apple logo]" naming scheme.

          Hardware:
          ApplePhone
          ApplePod
          AppleMac
          AppleBook
          AppleTV

          Software:
          AppleTunes
          AppleSync
          AppleWork
          AppleDVD

          More to type, but probably would have a cooler image and they wouldn't have to worry about name competition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604)

      If you prefer Apple because its one and only way fits well, that's fine. But please stop looking down others (Microsoft users, Linux, etc), because you're the inferior drones.

      I look down on any person as inferior who thinks there's something wrong with buying and using whatever I like best for whatever reasons make the most sense for me.

  • Not patents (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:03PM (#17575688) Homepage Journal
    IANAL, but I think the Patents icon is misleading here. While Patents and trademarks can share similar intellectual property issues, they're applied to different things for different reasons. A patent is generally to protect a method, product, device, or similar tangible things, while trademarks are used for words, phrases, logos, symbols, and such descriptives.

    The rules governing them are also fundamentally different on many levels. For example, while you can patent something and then sit on it until someone else actually makes the thing and then sue, a trademark must generally be in use to remain protected.

    More, as usual, on WP. [wikipedia.org]
    • IANAL, but I think the Patents icon is misleading here.

      My theory, which is mine, that I have, which you may ask, is this: "There is no Trademarks section or topic on Slashdot". Since a topic and section must be specified, the closest match, "Patents", was chosen.

      • My theory, which is mine, that I have, which you may ask, is this: "There is no Trademarks section or topic on Slashdot". Since a topic and section must be specified, the closest match, "Patents", was chosen.

        We have here on Slashdot today, an elk. Eurgh!!

        You do have a point, but I don't think it helps either the patent or trademark issues to lump them together. If /. doesn't want to make a "trademark" section, I feel the standard complement of legal-issues icons would suffice here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Skreems (598317)
      Don't you mean "iAnal"?
  • Hey Steve, why not just call it the íPhone
  • Legalities aside, and I'm not defending the legal aspects of Apple's continued use of the mark, but I'm sure Steve was "surprised and disappointed" too. Apple was apparently talking with Cisco all that time, just to have Cisco actually ship a product with the name just a month before the MacWorld keynote. If Cisco wants to paint itself as the poor hapless guy who got shafted on a sharing agreement mid-negotiation, I don't think it will really hold water. Apple spent how much on the collateral printing f

    • by dave420 (699308)
      Cisco *has* to challenge Apple. It owns the trademark. Apple has essentially agreed Cisco's ownership of iPhone is legit by talking to them about it. If Cisco didn't challenge it, their claim to it would become tenuous. We know this from every single time a trademark dispute is on slashdot. Trying to guess the motives of companies is pointless, and only serves to nicely illustrate your leanings.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Speare (84249)

        One, "defend the mark" does not equate to "fire off a lawsuit immediately." That's only one tactic that serves the purpose of defending the mark. The fact that documented negotiations exist at all is sufficient to show that they were holding up the legal requirements for defense of the mark.

        Two, "fire a lawsuit" is sufficient, but to then hold press conferences or litter the WSJ with press releases explaining to uninvolved parties *why* they executed a legal option is not beneficial to their situation

      • Cisco *has* to challenge Apple. If Cisco didn't challenge it, their claim to it would become tenuous.

        No they don't. Apple and Cisco have been in licensing talks for years now, and Apple is not yet selling the product under that name. Cisco doesn't have to do anything other than continue the licensing arrangements. A court would consider that to be active protection of a mark. If the talks broke down, THEN Cisco must challenge the mark, first in communications and then (if necessary) in court.

        All Cisco is do

    • by tfinniga (555989)
      I'd agree with you that Apple is perhaps on dubious legal ground.

      Another point I'd like to bring up is what Cisco was asking for. They weren't saying, pay us X dollars to buy the trademark. What they were saying was, "To use the trademark, you'll need to make your product compatible with ours. And we're going to keep calling ours the iPhone".

      So, um, yeah, no. Compromising the design and functionality for a name? Vendor lockin for a name? Not so much. Besides, people would have to have a way of dis
    • by Dekortage (697532)

      If I had mod points, I'd mod up parent up even further. Excellent point.

      Yes, Cisco owns the name. Fine. But Apple was in fair negotiations with them about the name when they decided to launch their own product with it. Like parent says, Steve was probably pissed about their product launch too. Right back atcha, Cisco.

      • by planetmn (724378) on Friday January 12, 2007 @02:01PM (#17577012)
        One major difference. Cisco legally owns the name. Apple does not. So Cisco released a product, using a trademark that they own. Apple on the other hand, decided screw it, and released a product using somebody else's trademark. I really hope Apple gets there ass handed to them in court. It's arrogance and disrespect for the law. The same law that Apple relies on with their iPod empire.

        Even if the negotiations were "fair", Cisco still had the legal right to release the product under the iPhone name, whereas Apple does not.

        -dave
    • by PsychicX (866028) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:57PM (#17576934)
      I'm sure Steve was "surprised and disappointed" too. Apple was apparently talking with Cisco all that time, just to have Cisco actually ship a product with the name just a month before the MacWorld keynote
      Had you read the article, you would have known that Cisco has been shipping an IPhone product since it bought InfoGear in 2000, and InfoGear was shipping it in 1996.

      They have a full decade of an active product with the name before Apple's announcement. This wasn't some Cisco ambush.
    • by Duds (100634) *
      The Linksys branded iphones have existed for over a year, they just have been updated recently.

      Cisco also sold iphone branded products until at least 2002 having bought the previous owner.
  • After reading the full article, it seems very likely to me that this 'open approach' and 'interoperability' stuff from Cisco is them trying to hitch a ride on the success of the apple iphone. I can understand why Apple doesn't want their phone associated with the Linksys phone, so quite frankly I don't see how this can come as a surprise to Cisco.

    On the other hand, iPhone is quite clearly a trademark belonging to Cisco, and Apple knows it. So should be interesting to see what is going to happen.
    • I can understand why Apple doesn't want their phone associated with the Linksys phone, so quite frankly I don't see how this can come as a surprise to Cisco.
      If they don't want them associated with each other, then why would they have chosen to give it the same name? This seems like a really stupid move on Apple's part. Even if they eventually get the rights to call theirs the iPhone, Cisco can call their products the same thing to ride on Apple's success anyway.
  • Not to be a Jobs fanboy, but the MacWorld keynote had a specific time and date, and the negotiations for iPhone moniker were not completed. End of story. So continue negotiations. No need to go into the magical dark elf world of lawyerdom where logic is tortured and common sense outlawed. It's just a fricken word.
  • Apple Corporation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:15PM (#17575964) Homepage
    This is another example of the much-beloved Apple saying a firm no to interoperability. Now, it's probably the case that Cisco was asking for way too much. But this highlights Apple is only a little different than say, Microsoft when it comes down to pissing matches and interoperability.

    At this point in history, both OS vendors will eat their babies. Beware brother, beeeware.

    Mod me down for saying an unkind word about Apple, but there is at least a little truth to it.
  • I like that. It helps to reduce squatting, speculation, and hoarding.
    • by interiot (50685)
      Is that true of patents in Europe as well? IMHO, the most onerous patent squatters are organizations who keep filing patents and never produce anything.
  • Typical Apple (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Angst Badger (8636)
    Apple, of course, has a long history of trying to steamroll other companies' trademarks, not the least of which would be the "Apple" name itself. In general, it has worked pretty well for them, so I don't anticipate any change in their policies. I expect that Cisco will probably relent after extracting a settlement from Apple. In the long run, though, I also expect that iWhatever will eventually be successfully challenged, probably by some relatively small company with more stubbornness than sense. (To be f
    • Steamroll how? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hypermanng (155858)
      A record company selling Beatles music sued a computer company selling microcomputer hardware, the former having a red apple logo, the latter using a rainbrow-striped apple with a bite in it. Which "Apple" was doing the steamrolling, here?

      I mean, should Anya Seton [wikipedia.org]'s estate executors be suing Toyota [toyota.com] and Marion Bradley [amazon.com]?

      The standards regarding "infringement" require than the trademark similarity be prone to cause marketplace confusion between the products, diluting the brand.

      Of course, Apple's prima facie arg
  • by Alexis1537 (992826) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:33PM (#17576358)
    I think it's quite and interesting contest. It might be a case of Cisco only telling half the story (why would it open up completely on a blog?). The negotiations will almost certainly have been fairly complex. I see four major factors which may decide the outcome of this one. The two most-quoted ones are:

    1) Apple's reliance on the "i" series of trade marks it already has. It will use this as a means of satisfying a test to determine the likelihood of confusion between the products. Some US legal experts have already claimed that this may not be a runner. We'll see (the area is heavily fact-specific so don't judge!)

    2) Cisco's failure properly to defend its iphone trademark against usage by other third parties involved in a similar line of business. Can't really comment on that seeing as I don't know enough about it. what's funny however is that a google search for "iphone" gives you about 7 pages of results on the Apple product and diddly squat on any else.

    There are two other factors which I can see, but which I think haven't necessarily been talked about much:

    3) Cisco knows full well (but omits to mention) that Cingular will not allow Apple to "do VoIP" on its cells. An invitation to commit to interoperability between two companies looks on the surface like something both would want. After all, both are respected organisations with lots of R&D skills and a (generally well thought-of) reputation for execution. However, because the business plan could not yet allow that, Apple sensed a dangerous honey trap designed to lure it into an exclusive tie-in on VoIP on the iPhone platform. As we know, Apple partners with who it wants when it wants.

    4) As this article http://www.out-law.com/page-7650 [out-law.com] suggests, Cisco may lose its EU trade marks in "iPhone" shortly. Apple may have filed the revocation notice itself. If the filing succeeds, Cisco will almost certainly have to settle.

    As you can see, it's a muddy one. I'm not hugely impressed with Cisco's line that "it was never about the money". It's always about money if you think that you're paying more than something is worth. Apple's probably seen that 4) is likely to succeed, and will stall until Cisco is forced back to the table with a lower price. My 0.2$

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:43PM (#17576582)
    C'mon, Apple. Call it the WiiPhone. Or the XPhone360. Or the ApplePhone With Jay Leno. There's lawyers starving on the East Coast who desperately need the work, and having to settle for 5 series insetad of 7 series.
  • Translation (Score:3, Funny)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:50PM (#17576752) Homepage Journal
    What did Cisco want? '[We] wanted an open approach.'

    'What did Cisco want? [We] approached Steve and asked him to open his wallet'
  • by Andy_R (114137) on Friday January 12, 2007 @01:54PM (#17576858) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me or has the iPhone recently had an Apple logo tacked to the front of it's name like the (apple)TV?

    I'm sure this gif [apple.com] has changed since the keynote.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      That would be funny if that's all that is needed to get around this idiocy.

      "No you honor, it's pronounced apple-i-phone."

      I still think this was a marketing gimmick by Apple to overrun Cisco's name and it will be changed in the US at the last minute. (Apple owns the iPhone trademark in other countries, so doesn't need to change it there.) It's not uncommon to change the name of a device depending on what country/region it is in.
  • Apple's solution to the trademark problem is eary. All they need to do is backdate the trademark and then assemble a committee of shill to look into it. Surprise, they'll find that the back dating was completely legitimate.

    If there are any questions, place the blame on some low level employee who will take the fall. Make sure that it's too complex for SJ, so he has the excuss that he "doesn't understand all that legal mumbo-jumbo".
  • I think that this is a publicity masterstroke by both sides.

    Apple gets more airtime with the non-geek community because the only thing that news loves reporting on more than pop stars getting arrested is large companies suing each other. iPhone doesn't exist yet - when it does, Steve can claim that iPhone was only a working name and call it whatever their marketing staff says will get people's attention.

    Cisco, on the other hand, gets ink for a product that just about nobody has heard of.

    Everybody gets publ

  • The Apple product hasn't been released yet. Being that they "announced" a product with a name, it's not for sale yet. So technically no damage has been done YET. So Apple probably figured that the negotiations with the iPhone trademark would be resolved prior to release date of the product which is sometime in JUNE!

    The part that Cisco is pissed about is the fact that apple's iPhone isn't compatible with the cisco iPhone family of products. Apple wanted just the name, not the technology, so cisco is pisse
  • by nodesyn (1050376)
    I haven't done a whole hell of a lot of research on this yet... isn't it ironic that Cisco released an "iPhone" 3 weeks before Jobs announced their "iPhone." Also if they had been negotiating... which they apparently have been... Cisco probably had some sort of general idea when Apple would want to use this name for their product, and then BAM the new Linksys iPhone... and did anyone ever question that instead of being the masters of patent trolling (which should be illegal) just wanted to be a stickler in
  • by SwashbucklingCowboy (727629) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:18PM (#17578510)
    They went after projects like iPodder for having iPod in them. They've even made noises about going after anything that uses the term podcast. Then they just go ahead and use someone else's trademarked name without permission?!

    Watta bunch of hypocrites!

  • by jmbehmke1 (1050394) on Friday January 12, 2007 @03:23PM (#17578608)
    IAATL - trademark law is one of my specialities. The Cisco iPhone trademark was registered 11/16/1999 (Reg. No. 2293011). In order to keep a trademark registration active, you have to file a Declaration of Use on or before the sixth anniversary of the registration date, in which you state, under penalty of perjury, that you have been using the trademark continuously during that period. The sixth anniversary would have been 11/16/2005. Cisco did not file the Declaration of Use in the requisite period. However, the USPTO gives you an extra six months grace period, if you pay an extra fee. This grace period would have expired 5/16/2006. Cisco filed a Declaration of Use on 5/4/2006 which kept their registration active. Had they not filed, their registration would have been canceled. With the Declaration, you are required to file a copy of a label or other packaging showing the trademark in use. Cisco filed a picture of the box for the Linksys iPhone. Now the Cisco press releases I have seen indicate that Cisco released the iPhone products in December 2006. Now this is my personal opinion based on the information I have seen so far (your mileage may vary): Cisco may have a problem with its trademark registration because it has not been continuously offering a product under the iPhone trademark since 1999. They knew that Apple was interested in the name (since Apple had approached them and negotiations were ongoing). If Cisco didn't launch a product using the iPhone name, their trademark registration would be canceled and they would have no bargaining chips with Apple. So in order to keep the trademark active, they had to file the Declaration of Use, and start selling a product under that trademark. It is possible that the Declaration of Use is defective, as there was no continuous use, and the sample that Cisco submitted was for a product not released until 7 months later. The fact that the Declaration of Use was submitted only days before the deadline expires gives me the impression that they were scrambling to get a product to market, and had to file the Declaration before the product was ready. Apple's lawyers will have certainly found the same clues that I did, and may believe that Cisco's registration can be cancelled (by proving in federal court that the Declaration of Use contained mistatements of fact - there was no continuous use). If Apple believes that they can get the registration cancelled, they may not have wanted to sign the agreement Cisco proposed. Without the registration, Cisco and Apple would still have a trademark dispute to resolve, but Cisco will have a harder time proving that it has valid trademark rights.
  • Sosumi (Score:3, Funny)

    by 200_success (623160) on Friday January 12, 2007 @05:36PM (#17581426)

    Apple really, really wanted to use Sosumi as the ringtone on this phone.

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