Uh-oh, CISCO Ain't Happy

Meistro#IM

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From The Wall Street Journal...

Jan. 10, 2007

Cisco sued Apple for trademark infringement over the "iPhone" name Apple chose for its new cellphone, unveiled yesterday. Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000, and had been in talks with Apple over rights to the name.

"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," said Mark Chandler, Cisco's general counsel. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission."
 

samkim

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This should be interesting. As I suggested in an earlier post, I think Cisco may have the legal advantage here, but they are going to lose the public PR war. I believe the digital public, if polled would think that the name iPhone is more "Apple" than "Cisco" and that Cisco should part with it.
I think you nailed it.

Cisco probably asked for some exorbitant sum. Apple has nothing to lose by dragging out negotiations. The longer it goes on, the more the public will associate the brand with Apple. Even if Apple changes the name when it officially launches in June, to say, Apple phone, everyone will continue calling it the iPhone.
 

Tastypeppers

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Yeah well Cisco's customers aren't Apple's customers, are they.

The longer Apple uses the trademark the greater the infringement and the greater the damages payable. So the longer Apple holds out the more money a Federal judge will give them. And Federal judges don't care about Steve Jobs and how cool he is. :)

I'd say Apple is in the hard position. How hard? If Cisco wanted to play hardball they could force Apple to rename the iPhone. Whether they WILL or not is another matter. But there's a big sword hanging over your head, Steve "Damocles" Jobs.

However, here's what's really going to happen. The IP lawyers will push and shove. Then the pragmatists will cut a deal. It will cost a bit more than Apple wanted to pay. They'll move on.

Steve Jobs has a habit of running around with casual disregard for trademarks. Remember the record label of the same name that happened to be in existence when Apple Computer started its life?
 

Chatter

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Um, er... Cisco losing the PR war? That's insane! Cisco owns the name, has owned it for years, and is using it. Apple has no right at all to have it, and I can't imagine much sympathy for Apple on this score; it just sounds like they screwed up.

Marc
 

samkim

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The longer Apple uses the trademark the greater the infringement and the greater the damages payable.
Funny thing is, Apple isn't selling any products under the iPhone name today.
Um, er... Cisco losing the PR war? That's insane! Cisco owns the name, has owned it for years, and is using it.
True. But how many people, outside the tech savvy, really understand that?

And whether Cisco would win outright in court is not so clear, at least to me (not a lawyer). Many companies have lost their trademark rights by not properly defending them. Cisco rushed a product under the iPhone name to market just last month, but one could argue that they lost rights to the trademark after they ignored it for several years as it became commonly associated with other companies, including Apple.
 

DHAnderson

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I am not a lawyer, but if you search the uspto.gov trademark site, you will find two trademarks that Apple may be infringing on.

In any case, Apple will have to pay to use that name. Either lawyers or the trademark holders or both.
 

archie

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I am not a lawyer either but from what I read today. Their last second effort to cover theri tracks is not going to cover it. They let the 3 years lapse and it seems clear that Apple has now set precedent. If you have been paying attention they have applied for the iPhone trademark names in varies coutries throughout the globe with an intent and description.

The contract and negoitiations leading up to Apple's actual announcement demanded so little. It was to entice Apple so that Cisco would have a connection to "cool".

But now Cisco is screwed.
 

mobileman

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I am not a lawyer either but from what I read today. Their last second effort to cover theri tracks is not going to cover it. They let the 3 years lapse and it seems clear that Apple has now set precedent. If you have been paying attention they have applied for the iPhone trademark names in varies coutries throughout the globe with an intent and description.

The contract and negoitiations leading up to Apple's actual announcement demanded so little. It was to entice Apple so that Cisco would have a connection to "cool".

But now Cisco is screwed.

Oh really? Cisco has more than enough money to drag this out for years. Apple needs this settled by June, because no matter what, Cisco will get a restraining order against Apple releasing it with this name.
 

detective

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I am not a lawyer, but if you search the uspto.gov trademark site, you will find two trademarks that Apple may be infringing on.

In any case, Apple will have to pay to use that name. Either lawyers or the trademark holders or both.

You might note that at least one, if not both of the companies with the iPhone registration are now owned by Cisco.
 

archie

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Oh really? Cisco has more than enough money to drag this out for years. Apple needs this settled by June, because no matter what, Cisco will get a restraining order against Apple releasing it with this name.
Maybe so but based on what I read today, in the end it will be Cisco's bucks that end up paying for the lawyers of both parties.
 

mikec#IM

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I am not a lawyer either but from what I read today. Their last second effort to cover theri tracks is not going to cover it. They let the 3 years lapse and it seems clear that Apple has now set precedent. If you have been paying attention they have applied for the iPhone trademark names in varies coutries throughout the globe with an intent and description.

The contract and negoitiations leading up to Apple's actual announcement demanded so little. It was to entice Apple so that Cisco would have a connection to "cool".

But now Cisco is screwed.

You're right, you are not a lawyer. You have no clue what you are talking about.

Apple just decided to try to steal the name through sheer momemtum, and Cisco was trying to get them to open it up. Apple screwed up, not closing the deal before the announcement. Cisco owns the copyright, and used it. Tough titty for Apple. They figure they will sell a bajillion iPhones to cover the cost of the settlement from Cisco. (which may be an effective strategy.)

But if Cisco, get's an injunction against sale of the iPhone (they have 6 months), and delays it's release, that will hurt Apple.
 

mikec#IM

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I think you nailed it.

Cisco probably asked for some exorbitant sum. Apple has nothing to lose by dragging out negotiations. The longer it goes on, the more the public will associate the brand with Apple. Even if Apple changes the name when it officially launches in June, to say, Apple phone, everyone will continue calling it the iPhone.

Actually, Apple has a lot to lose; Cisco can issue an junction against selling the device, and possibly even any reference to the item publicly (on their web site, advertising , etc.)

What the public calls it, and what stands up in court are two different things.
 

sschlesinger

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Maybe so but based on what I read today, in the end it will be Cisco's bucks that end up paying for the lawyers of both parties.

Cisco has got the upperhand on this one fellas as far as trademarks. Ultimately Cisco nor Apple will have to pay for any court battle and all legal fees will be passed to the consumer no matter how much the total legal bill is. I can see Cisco will become the winner no matter what happens in court. Cisco could be nice and sell the name for some ungodly amount or they could can just goto court and sue the pants off Apple but regardless Cisco and Apple can both be assured they have great lawyers. Two multi-billion dollar companies and having bad lawyers doesn't mix.
 

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