Apple and Cisco Systems Settle Lengthy Trademark Dispute over iPhone

Dennis Faas's picture

When Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, revealed a new product that would serve as a mobile phone, a camera, a music device, and had Internet capabilities, many industry analysts were certain that Apple would soon become a major player in the handset market.

The high expectations were soon delayed when the name selected for the product, the "iPhone", was disputed by rival company Cisco Systems, resulting in a lengthy copyright battle.

Now, over one month later, Apple has finally put an end to their trademark dispute with Cisco Systems and can once again set their sights on becoming a recognizable name in the handset market. (Source:

Apple had initially refused to change the name of their device, because many within the company felt that the name "iPhone" was catchy enough to eventually be used as a reference for similar products.

Similar to the way the name "iPod" has become a reference for all portable music devices, Apple hopes that when a consumer wishes to purchase a device with all of the features that their product offers, they will simply ask for an "iPhone".

Cisco Systems had initially assumed ownership of the iPhone name, claiming that they have owned the trademark since 2000 and have been selling phones with the iPhone name since 2006. (Source:

Cisco's versions of the iPhone is a handset for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that enables their users to make free or low-cost calls over the Internet using software provided by companies such as Skype.

Apple's version of the iPhone connects callers over a regular mobile network connection, but has all of the capabilities of a phone, iPod, camera and a Blackberry personal organizer. (Source:

In a public statement released to the media, the terms of the Apple and Cisco settlement are that both companies are now free to "use the 'iPhone' trademark on their products throughout the world".

In an effort to further suppress any possibilities of a future dispute between the two over the trademark, the terms also stated that "both companies acknowledge the trademark ownership rights that have been granted, and each side will dismiss any pending actions regarding the trademark". (Source:

Industry analysts agree that both sides will benefit from the agreement, with Cisco sharing in the marketing power of Apple and Apple avoiding a costly legal battle and possible delays to the launch of their phone.

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