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Cisco to Blogosphere: We’re Listening

January 16, 2007
at 12:00 pm PST

We’ve been following our iPhone trademark issue in the blogosphere closely and it’s been interesting to see the commentary from some posters suggesting that somehow Cisco either in the US or Europe didn’t meet the requirements to maintain the iPhone trademark. Our response is pretty simple: We have met all elements required by all authorities to maintain our mark. We’ve been pretty direct about the fact that we’ve been shipping the iPhone since last spring.

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7 Comments.


  1. If you’ve been selling them since spring, why do CITs from that time period not say iPhone?Why did you announce the release of the iPhone in December if it was already available in spring?Europe shows no sign of Cisco iPhone products being available.Also, the iPhone trademark that Infogear held in Canada was allowed to lapse as well.

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  2. I’m sorry, but you haven’t. Slapping an iPhone”" sticker on a box for something that didn’t have the name until December does not an iPhone spring release make. Especially not when you do it just days before your grace period (let alone the official day you were supposed to have shown continuous use) is over.If this was anything more than an attempt to hold on to a coveted product name for future use, why wait until months after you’d launched the device originally? Why leave a PDF manual that clearly shows no mention to the word “”iPhone”" on your site?You might be listening, but you’re not understanding. We’re on to what you’ve done and we won’t let you make false claims.”

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  3. …80s that was hot and poised to take over the PC world, but they got a bit arrogant and started making everything proprietary…And who was their leader…right Steve Jobs…you wonder is Apple capable of learning from its past?…It would be great if Apple could start to learn to partner and share. Unfortunately, based on the word around the Valley, I am not sure their CEO was taught that lesson, which means now the lawyers get involved and the FUD begins.”"I don’t understand this at all. First – yes you’re right that Apple was poised to take over the PC world, by offering a better alternative. At a time when everyone – including most of Apple itself – was saying that the GUI interface wouldn’t work. Even if Apple had wanted to be non-proprietary, it couldn’t have found a partner. And there certainly wasn’t anyone keeping any other company in the valley at that time from doing what Jobs did – namely, cut a deal with Xerox PARC for a license to create a GUI/bitmap based computer. But noone else saw the value in a windowed interface over a command-line interface. Not until after Apple took the huge risk, led the way, and was successful. Only after letting Apple take the risk of losing hundreds of millions did other companies decide they wanted to “”partner”" with Apple.As far as being “”proprietary”" – I think you’re confused on terminology. Licensing something does *not* suddenly make it open – it’s still proprietary. For example – you can license the Windows Media Format, but you can’t build whatever you want with it. Whatever you want to build has to be vetted by Microsoft before it can be sold. I’m fairly certain the sam ecan be said even of Cisco. Relatively few Silicon Valley companies are interested in building on truly open platforms. Just because you can pay a Microsoft tax and build a substandard user experience by cobbling Windows and cheap PC hardware doesn’t mean you’re not in a proprietary marketplace.Lastly, the comment about Apple not being able to partner and share just strikes me as ridiculous. Literally hundreds of other companies had the opportunity to partner with the music industry’s major labels before iTunes/iPod was developed. Yet none of them did. Apple was the only company with the foresight and partnering skills to navigate the ridiculously difficult negotiations that were required to create a viable downloadable music marketplace, and to make it profitable for everyone involved. Again – once Apple has taken the risk of creating a new market, suddenly there are thousands of willing “”partners”" that want to ride on their coattails. Please. With partners like that, who needs competitors?I think the pseudonym you choose to post under – “”Market FUD”" – is more appropriate than you intended.”

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  4. Apple has yet to refute any claims by Cisco, that I have seen, that it contacted Cisco prior to launching the iPhone. If Cisco’s claim to the trademark are so weak…why did Apple contact them? This is less about if Cisco owns the rights and more about if Apple cares. seems to me I remember this company in the 80s that was hot and poised to take over the PC world, but they got a bit arrogant and started making everything proprietary. In fact, I can still remember my PC running software and printing images on all products from this one company. Oh what was their name…that’s right Apple Computer. And who was their leader…right Steve Jobs.Don’t get me wrong I love Apple. Living in Silicon Valley I drive by the campus almost daily. I have all my music stored to numerous iPODs and I just got an iMac at Christmas, but you wonder is Apple capable of learning from its past? They have been hot before and they tried to force customers to go all Apple. Will that work long-term in the consumer market. Only until someone comes in with a compelling open architecture offer, because let’s be honest, outside Mac loyalist, people want choices. It would be great if Apple could start to learn to partner and share. Unfortunately, based on the word around the Valley, I am not sure their CEO was taught that lesson, which means now the lawyers get involved and the FUD begins.

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  5. There are a few lingering questions that perhaps you help clarify for us:1. When the CIT200 first came out, it didn’t have an iPhone”" label on it, is that correct? If so, what was the first date in 2006 when a retail customer could go out and buy the CIT200 and see the “”iPhone”" name on the product?2. There are several “”iPhone”" products on the market not made by Cisco/Linksys. For example, http://www.daydeal.com/product.php?productid=14409 and http://www.telecomwholesalecentral.com/servlet/Detail?no=163 , and then of course there’s http://www.iphone.com , a company that offers Voice over IP solutions. Has Cisco taken any trademark action against these products/companies?3. If you ask 10 people on the street “”Who makes the iPhone”", most are going to say “”Apple”". This was true even before the announcement this month. If you search for “”iPhone”" on Google, most of the hits are Apple related (*). In your opinion, does this association in people’s minds have any bearing on the legal issue of who owns and can use a trademark?Thanks,–Ed* As of this writing, on google”"-apple +iphone +cisco”" returns 1.5 million hits, and”"+apple +iphone -cisco”" returns 88.1 million hits.( This entry was also posted at http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette ) Note: As stated previously, we have met all elements required by all authorities to maintain our mark. We will also save the litigating for the court.”

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  6. All these comments and blogs comes down to only one thing. This matter will be settled in court and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or claims is right. Cisco will have a clear advantage and I will still be spending more money on Cisco gear then I will ever do on Apple gear.

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  7. We will also save the litigating for the court.”"Doesn’t seem like it. You keep posting here on this blog, but unfortunately you keep rehashing the same press release-friendly, litgation-safe statements:1. we did everything we had to. (People continue to ask: was that enough? Even if it was enough, it seems you were little interested in the trademark for 5 years when you claim Apple was approaching you?)2. It was about interoperability. (Which could mean a million things: for some reason you think saying “”interoperable technologies”" or some other vagueries clarifies it.)You were the ones to attempt to litigate this in the public eye. You were the ones who claimed forthright openness. The fact is: you needed to try to sway the public, you did temporarily, and now that the momentum has swayed back to Apple, and people have real questions, now… you’ve gone silent. Note: This is a trademark issue and we are defending an infringement. As stated previously and in very clear terms, we have met all elements required by all authorities to maintain our mark.”

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