Thursday, January 11, 2007

The iPhone trademark

When the Apple iPhone was released on Tuesday I'm sure I wasn't the only person confused about the trademark problems this was going to cause with respect to the already released Linksys iPhone.

An Apple iPhone at last...

It quickly became clear that there wasn't an agreement in place between the two firms, but that they had been talking about the issue. However it now appears that Cisco is suing Apple over the trademark infringement, and in an unusual move Mark Chandler, Cisco's SVP and General Counsel, has posted an article on the Cisco blog concerning the suit.

You know what, despite thinking the Apple's iPhone is one of the coolest pieces of hardware I've seen in a number of years, I agree with Scoble, this is going to be a real problem for Apple. What was Apple thinking here?

I think they're counting on trademark dilution, all of that media coverage talking about the Apple iPhone which has been going on for years, without any cease and desist orders from Cisco. Maybe they believe they can sell a judge that Cisco hasn't effectively defended the trademark?

Update: According to the BBC, Apple has responded to the suit, saying that,
We think Cisco's trademark lawsuit is silly...There are already several companies using the name iPhone for VOIP products. We are the first company to ever use the iPhone name for a cell phone, and if Cisco wants to challenge us on it we are very confident we will prevail.
which is a pretty strongly worded response, all things considered?

Update: The Register is reporting that the Cisco trademark is now under threat in both Europe and the States.