Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 10th Jan 2007 23:53 UTC, submitted by danB
Legal Cisco has sued Apple over the use of the 'iPhone' brand. "Cisco today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Apple, Inc., seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco's registered iPhone trademark."
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RE[2]: Seriously
by butters on Thu 11th Jan 2007 21:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Seriously"
butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

Cisco's iPhone is a VoIP phone, which is a very reasonable lateral move for a company specializing in enterprise IP hardware. Big companies want to get rid of their legacy telephone lines and consolidate communication over their more advanced data networks.

Apple is arguing that the two iPhone products are materially different because their's is a cellular phone whereas Cisco's is a wired IP phone. However, there is nothing (that I know of) preventing users from using Apple's iPhone as a wireless IP phone using Skype or something similar.

It's obvious that Cisco has the engineering resources to make their iPhone wireless as well. Cisco is arguing that while the products might be a bit different right now, trends in network consolidation suggest that the two products could very well compete head-to-head within a relative short timeframe.

Now, I don't think Cisco has plans to move into the cellular market or into the portable media player space, but it's not hard to see them doing a portable PIM device like a CrackBerry. So, the battle over the iPhone trademark is complicated by the fact that the Apple iPhone does so many things, a couple of which are reasonable market opportunities for Cisco.

I don't think there's any way that Apple is going to walk away from this lawsuit the victor. Either they'll change the name, pay Cisco an 8-figure settlement for the rights, or (most likely) grant Cisco some rights pertaining to iTunes/FairPlay.

This much is fairly clear. The multi-million-dollar question that nobody has convincingly answered is why this situation was allowed to get to this point. This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and considering the marketing prowess of at least one of the parties (if not both), there's got to be a reason why this trademark dispute was allowed to boil over like this. This lawsuit is probably in Apple's best interests for some reason, as if they are baiting Cisco into some sort of trap.

In the big picture, the iPhone is a HUGE product for Apple, likely to supersede the iPod in many markets in a few years. This has been in the works for years, a big bet for Apple. They wouldn't use this product to pick a fight with another big-name tech company unless they knew exactly what they were doing.

They could have called their other new product by its codename, iTV, but they instead chose Apple TV. Why the obviously contentious iPhone instead of something like Apple Phone?

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