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News   - 01/11/2007

Cisco Sues Apple Over Use of iPhone Name

Cisco Sues Apple Over Use of iPhone Name for Its New Handheld Device.

Apple Inc.'s much-ballyhooed iPhone was unveiled this week after 30 months and millions of dollars in top-secret development. But the sleek new iPod-cellular phone combination could wind up costing the company a lot more.

Cisco Systems Inc., the world's largest networking equipment maker, sued Apple in San Francisco federal court on Wednesday, claiming that Apple's iPhone violates its trademark.

Cisco is asking the court to forbid Apple from using the name "iPhone," which Cisco has held a trademark on since 2000 and used to brand a line of its own Internet-enabled phones that began shipping last spring and officially launched three weeks ago.

Cisco said Apple approached the company several years ago seeking to use the name, and the two Silicon Valley tech giants have been negotiating ever since to hammer out a licensing agreement.

But Cisco said the talks broke down just hours before Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, took to the stage Tuesday at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo to introduce the multimedia device.

Apple's iPhone is a touch-screen-controlled cell phone device that plays music, surfs the Web and delivers voicemail and e-mail. The product still needs FCC approval.

While Jobs was holding court in front of thousands of Apple devotees, Cisco had given Apple lawyers until the end of the business day to finalize the contract.

The deadline came and went, and Cisco filed the lawsuit Wednesday seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco's iPhone trademark.

"We certainly expected that since they had gone ahead and announced a product without receiving permission to use the brand, that meant that the negotiation was concluded," said Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice president and general counsel.

Apple argues it's entitled to use the name iPhone because the products are materially different.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris called Cisco's lawsuit "silly" and said there are already several other companies using the name iPhone for products like Cisco's that use the increasingly popular Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

Source: ABC News    
 
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