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More Answers on Cisco iPhone Trademark Issue

January 13, 2007 - 22 Comments

First, a very brief recap. Our property (the iPhone trademark) is being used without our permission. We filed suit to stop this. It is as simple as that.Now, to clarify some questions that are out there: 1) Has Cisco maintained its rights to the iPhone trademark? Cisco has used its iPhone trademark in all ways necessary to maintain it and keep it valid. We are not a litigious company, but we will act when our property is used without our permission.2) Cisco has been saying that this dispute with Apple wasn’t over money but over the desire to be more interoperable with Apple. What does that mean? Let’s be clear…this issue is about infringement on Cisco’s trademark. On interoperability, in general, we were asking for the two companies to work together to make our products and technologies more interoperable. Cisco has been a longtime proponent of interoperability within the high-tech industry for the benefit of the companies involved and, more importantly, the end-users of those products and technologies. Interoperability is important because, as we’ve said, we see the potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone, and the PC as limitless and we see the network as the foundation for innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services consumers want.3) Did Apple ever approach Cisco to let you know of its intention of using your trademark and did you try to resolve the issues before filing the lawsuit? Apple approached Cisco many times over the past five years to acquire rights to use the iPhone trademark, acknowledging Cisco’s rights to the trademark. We had extensive discussions with them up until monday night at 8:00 p.m. with the goal of reaching an agreement.4) What is the Cisco iPhone? The iPhone family is a class of device that marries the familiarity of the telephone with compelling Internet services, access to personal content, and integration with the home to create complete solutions for the communication needs of consumers. More info at Lastly, aren’t you and Apple really offering different products targeted at different markets? Today’s iPhone is not tomorrow’s iPhone. The potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless. In our view, the network provides the foundation for innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services consumers want. Hope that clears some of the questions out there. Thanks for posting your comments and questions. Have a good Holiday weekend.

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  1. iPhone...U DON'T ANSWER"""

  2. Is it just me or are we talking about Cisco here? C - I - S - C - O people! One of the drabest tech-bores of our time. Their designs are weak, ideas empty, and products cheap (from consumer to pro). I can't believe this stupid conversation is even taking place. Apple, let Cisco have it's stupid name where it can then float to the bottom of the black waters of nothingness and be forgotten forever. Cisco's tawdry scheme is embarrassingly transparent, but far from surprising.Cisco Note: While we obviously disagree with this comment, we support the principle of free speech."

  3. If anybody think that Cisco was stupid by not talking loudly to Apple and anybody else of iPhone as their trademark think again. If anybody think that Apple was stupid by anouncing of their product without some sort of agreement with Cisco think again. They both win this case by selling their own products under whatever name. They both are warming up customer's attention to their products by using (or not using) the word iPhone and by sueing (or not actually sueing) each other. And lawyer gets their money also for sure :)

  4. Here's what I think: Yes, Apple shouldn't have used the name iPhone"" until an agreement was finalized with Cisco, but, if Cisco really wanted to protect their copyright, they would have stopped the misuse of the name iPhone over five years ago when rumors began about a future phone from Apple. Apple and Cisco we're in negotiations concerning the iPhone trademark up until 8:00PM the night before MacWorld and Steve Jobs' keynote! Cisco should have not thrown a fit and pulled the plug on negotations and reached an agreement with Apple anyway. Apple is not the kind of company that just gives up. Apple will most likely fight until the end for this trademark. Apple, I can't wait to get my hands on an iPhone in June. Cisco, you had better start thinking of a new name for your crappy piece of junk!"

  5. I will agree with most people in the fact that Apple shouldn't of used the name iPhone until Cisco and Apple had reached an agreement. However, for Cisco to make this kind of publicity is rediculous. Everyone knows that apple has the line of i"" products (iPod, iTunes, iMac, etc). To be perfectly honest, if you asked any ordinary person on the street what the iPhone was, they're answer would most likely be, ""Isn't that the new Apple phone?"" Key word in that answer is APPLE phone! In the end, I truly think it will be Cisco's mistake for trying to sue Apple over this. I believe that Apple will end up taking the name. It's just like McDonalds. Although the name MC isn't trademarked, McDonalds has still sued companies for trying to use ""Mc"" in front of a product name, and they have won. More people know what Apple is over Cisco. Apple is clearly a more popular company. The answer should really go to the consumers. Who should have the iPhone name, Cisco or Apple. I think that most people would say that Apple deserves the name, not Cisco."

  6. If Cisco has done all that was required to be the trademark holder these years, Apple is clearly in the wrong for usurping the name for the prelaunch of said Apple product. If either created or purchased by Cisco, it's Cisco's property and no fanboy wishing otherwise would make it wrong and Apple right. If Cisco doesn't hold it, the trademark, then the situation should be quickly cleared up and the holder established. Also, no matter who ends up with the trademark, Apple made a move to use what they didn't clearly have, and that's something to think on.

  7. Boycott Cisco? For not being willing to give up a trademark to Apple? That's downright idiotic. Look at Apple and how they sue anyone who tries to say the word pod"". You can't make Cisco the bad guy here. Saying that they shouldn't sue Apple over using the iPhone name for their product is like saying that the kid who steals your lunch should get to keep it because he's going to give fries to his friends. This might delay the iPhone? Actually, it won't, because Cisco already started selling iPhones. It could delay the relase of Apple's phone, but tough nuts to Apple, and it's about time they got the short end of the trademark stick.Go ahead, boycott Cisco.. I'm sure that when you tell your friends that you decided to trade in your Cisco products for inferior ones, they'll be only too glad to join in."

  8. I think that this lawsuit by Cisco is petty at most. The cisco iPhone is a device that until this point no one has ever heard of, and is completely unrelated to Apple's. If Cisco is smart they will drop the suit and realize that it was a bad move to begin with. Apple will win, and it will make Cisco look very bad.

  9. Don't let your loyalty to Apple blind you to some facts. First and foremost, there is no way this can be positioned as just marketing."" No way Apple challenges Cisco on this for ""marketing,"" because if we are honest Apple had no marketing around iPhone till their launch and they launched knowing Cisco owned the trademark.Second, if Apple truly felt this product would be a success regardless of the name why didn't they go with iPodPhone? It would have eliminated this issue and saved them countless dollars in legal fees, but at this point they have created equity in iPhone. If Cisco is smart they will recognize this and hold it against Apple by doubling what they previously asked for, because regardless of whether Cisco has done anything with the name...they have done enough to keep the trademark and that's all they needed to do.Honestly, strip away the loyalty blinders and you can see a brillant business move made here by Cisco and Apple is simply bitter. It's never good to have a bitter Apple."

  10. This is so petty. It feels as though you're doing this because you realize how popular Apple's iPhone is gonna be, and you're squeezing them for money. Let them use the name! You guys are making tons of consumers mad at the Cisco brand by fussing over this thing. As I see it, you could potentially hold-up the release of the Apple iPhone, and that makes me very upset.I'm boycotting Cisco products from this point on, and I won't be alone.

  11. Apple has shown that they want to use the name.Cisco has shown they don't want Apple to use the name they weren't really using until it became clear they had to.Apple has said nothing about (nor has anyone seriously suggested) that the product won't be successful without the name iPhone. They have just shown that they want to use it. If they call the thing the iPodPhone or the QuaserMultiCommunicatorAndFoodProcessor it will be successful. This is all just marketing.All the armchair IANALs can post all they want to all the blogs they want, but the fact is that Cisco/Linksys' track record for openness"" is also subject to debate. It appears that the most action the iPhone trademark got over the past 5 years was Apple's desire to use it, which far eclipsed anything Cisco did with it."

  12. You techies are funny with all your fighting. I bought an iPhone 5-years-ago. Yes, I was one of the original InfoGear customers. So let's be honest if Apple is so cool"" come they couldn't come up with something more creative than iPhone. From what I have read the device does more than just make calls, which means they could have gone with another name, especially considering Apple knew Cisco held the trademark. Basically Apple said, ""don't care"" and I am going to walk out on stage with my cool 501 jeans and black turtleneck, seriously who wears a turtleneck anymore, and launch the iPhone. As an outside observer, who loves his iPod and new iMac, I think Apple is testing whether Cisco is serious about entering the consumer market and they got their answer. However, they have also shown Cisco they don't think this product can be successful without the iPhone name. I would look for Cisco to up the bet. I know if I had a full-house and the guy I was playing had two-pair the bet would go up."

  13. Hey has everyone seen the iPhone Wars site that just sprang up? The discussion board is going totally Pro Cisco on this one. Check it out at www.iphonewars.comGood Luck you guys. I hope you take a bite out of the big Apple!The Cisco Kid

  14. This sounds more and more like the litigant with the biggest briefcase will win the battle. And the last time I looked, Cisco's market cap was double that of Apple's.

  15. Has Cisco maintained its rights to the iPhone trademark? Cisco has used its iPhone trademark in all ways necessary to maintain it and keep it valid.""From what I can see, media outlets all around the world have been using the term 'iPhone' to describe the upcoming Apple cell-phone for the last couple of years. Long before the end of 2006, this was the general use of the word. Did Cisco take any steps to protect its trademark for this misuse, or did it allow the misuse to continue? Allowing it to become a generic term for Apple's phone would make Cisco's ownership of the mark more valuable independently of the merits of Cisco's own product, something I suspect courts would frown on.I would assume they haven't, simply on the grounds that everyone who had been consistently using 'iPhone' to describe Apple's phone in the media was so surprised when Cisco announced it owned the name in December. Even one journalist or blogger reporting in the last couple of years ""I received a lawyergram from Cisco telling me I misused their iPhone trademark"" would have been newsworthy enough to receive wide reportage.The interesting part here is that Apple have absolutely nothing to lose. I doubt anyone at Apple is really married to the name, it was just a no-brainer because it's what everyone was calling the product already. Their worst-case scenario is they have to rename the iPhone to 'iPod Phone' before it is released. Big deal. They spend a few million on lawyers and changing the design, and oh damn they have to fall back on using one of the hottest brand names in consumer electronics.Meanwhile, the case keeps ""Apple's new phone is being released soon"" in the news. Every report on the lawsuit will contain a sentence like ""Apple's revolutionary new cell phone"", giving them continued publicity for the six months between announcement and availability, whatever they call it."

  16. Apple’s iPhone is also a music player and Apple the computer maker is prohibited by a previous lawsuit by Apple the Record Company from using that trademark for music, that's why it's iTunes and iPod.

  17. Cisco note: We asked them to make interoperability info available to us on the same terms they made it available to anyone else.""Apple's PR people have been saying that the iPhone is a closed system, and that there will be no support for third party apps. The impression I get is that Apple will only share technical information with a select few companies, if anybody. The information Cisco wants is _not_ something that is generally available.Personally, I was _extremely_ disappointed to hear that Apple is not going to be supporting third party apps on the iPhone. I do mobile device development professionally, and was hoping I wouldn't have to spend my first month of iPhone ownership looking for buffer overflows so I can install my own stuff. Oh well."

  18. Cisco has been saying that this dispute with Apple wasn’t over money but over the desire to be more interoperable with Apple. What does that mean? Let's be clear...""Why don't you be clear and tell us what concrete steps you were actually asking Apple to take?Did the agreement include any exclusivity in this work you were asking Apple to engage in?Did it include specific Cisco products which Apple's product needed to interoperate with?Did it include any specific requirements for the first iPhone?The Apple iPhone is a cellphone, first and foremost. Did your requests for specific features from Apple go against Cingular's requests?I'm happy that you're willing to apparently answer some more questions, but it still seems to me that you're not clarifying very much.If you were asking for Apple engineers to talk to you every so often and discuss ways to interoperate, that's something that they should have had no problem agreeing to. If, on the other hand, you were demanding that the first publicly released iPhone must include support for Cisco's VoIP servers, and no others, and must make it as easy to use VoIP as it was to make cellular calls, I can see some problems here.Again, your explanation talks about imprecise desires and goals, whereas it seems quite likely that your dispute was about concrete milestones and commitments.Please clarify if there were any concrete milestones, and, if possible, what they were. Note: We asked them to make interoperability info available to us on the same terms they made it available to anyone else."

  19. After acquiring Linksys, did the Infogear/LinkSys iPhone continue to be manufactured and shipped or was it only supported?Was there a shipping product from Cisco which featured the iPhones trademark actually on the product and packaging when you reasserted your trademark rights, or as is believed, did you not introduce such a product until December 8, 2006?Is it not true that your European trademark is in the process of being revoked and is in essence invalid?If Apple has been approaching you since as early as 2001 and no product ever existed under both the Cisco and iPhone marks until December 2006, how can we believe that you were attempting to negotiate in good faith to protect valuable IP""?"

  20. How many lawsuits have been threatened by Apple for the *pod* (ipod, podcast, you name it) mark?""No kidding. Apple deserves what they have coming."

  21. To be fair, just because you didn't create a trademark - as long as you legally acquired it - doesn't mean that you don't have the right to use it and protect it. If it is found that the trademark is valid, unfortunately, Apple violated the mark and should cease from using it. How many lawsuits have been threatened by Apple for the *pod* (ipod, podcast, you name it) mark?

  22. John --Thanks for rewriting Cisco's previous press releases. But you haven't really responded to the questions. How responsible is it for Cisco to use a trademark it didn't even create to leverage access to Apple's technology?Essentially, your price for the name wasn't dollars and cents, it was for a piece of Apple's stardust ... and, apparently, a piece of its soul.While I think Apple was wrong to try to comandeer the name, they were right to reject your offer"". P.S. When next you answer questions, perhaps you could respond to this: Note: As stated in this entry, Cisco has used its iPhone trademark in all ways necessary to maintain it and keep it valid. I think that covers it."