Cisco Explains iPhone Lawsuit

Dennis Faas's picture

Many consumers have never heard of the Cisco iPhone. Thus, Cisco's lawsuit, which claims trademark infringement on Apple's iPhone, came as a shock to many.

But on Wednesday January 10th, Mark Chandler, Cisco's SVP and General Counsel, blogged about the case and why Cisco is putting its foot down. (Source:

In the company blog, Chandler reminds readers that Cisco has owned the trademark "iPhone" since 2000, when Cisco bought the company Infogear. Infogear had owned the rights since 1996, before iMacs and iPods were on the market. Chandler also notes that Cisco has been shipping iPhones for years, and had a formal launch of the updated product last year. (Source:

Chandler points to even more evidence to justify the suit. He says that not only was Apple aware that Cisco owned the trademark, they approached Cisco in 2001 with regard to the rights.

Further, Chandler says that the two companies have been in serious discussions in the last few weeks in an attempt to share the iPhone trademark. He asserts that Cisco was confident that an agreement would be reached, and wanted to find a collaborative resolution. Thus, the company was shocked to discover that Apple had announced the name of their product before an agreement was reached. (Source:

Chandler also noted Apple's hypocritical actions: "At MacWorld, Apple discussed the patents pending on their new phone technology. They clearly seem to value intellectual property. If the tables were turned, do you think Apple would allow someone to blatantly infringe on their rights? How would Apple react if someone launched a product called iPod but claimed it was OK to use the name because it used a different video format? Would that be ok? We know the answer -- Apple is a very aggressive enforcer of their trademark rights. And that needs to be a two-way street." (Source:

On the other side of the battlefield, Apple representative Katie Cotton says that Cisco is just grasping for straws. "We believe that Cisco's U.S. trademark is tenuous at best," she said. "We are the first company to use the iPhone name for a cell phone and we're confident we will prevail." (Source:

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