January 11, 2007 Apple’s iPhone burst onto the internet yesterday like a nuclear explosion, immediately becoming the most sought after product of 2007. Given that just about every tech journalist in the world was aware of Cisco’s registered iPhone trademark, we all assumed that a deal had been struck, but apparently not! Cisco today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Apple, seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using it’s trademark. Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after completing the acquisition of Infogear, which previously owned the mark and sold iPhone products for several years. Infogear’s original filing for the trademark dates to 1996. Linksys, a division of Cisco, has been shipping a new family of iPhone products since early last year, expanding the iPhone family with additional products as recently as December. “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, Cisco. “There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission.
“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 concluded.
With its lawsuit, Cisco is seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco’s iPhone trademark.