Cisco Sues Apple Over iPhone Trademark

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Folks in the tech and communications industry were rather surprised when a product called the iPhone appeared back in mid-December—but it was a VoIP wireless handset from Cisco subsidiary Linksys, rather than a hybrid iPod/mobile phone from Apple.

So when Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs introduced the company’s forthcoming mobile phone/widescreen iPod/Internet communications device at Macworld yesterday under the name iPhone, more than a few eyebrows shot up. Even though Apple’s device won’t hit market until mid-year, two phone products using the same name looked like a trademark battle waiting to happen. But scuttlebutt as late as this morning indicated everything was kosher: Apple and Cisco had been in negotiations about Apple’s use of the name, an agreement had been worked out, and Cisco expected Apple to sign it imminently.

Apparently, that’s not the case.

Today, Cisco filed a trademark infringement suit against Apple, Inc. over the company’s use of the iPhone trademark. The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks "injunctive relief" to prevent Apple from copying the iPhone trademark. If granted, that would keep Apple’s iPhone off the market, and even prevent the company from calling it the iPhone before it’s available for sale.

Cisco acknowledged the two companies had been in negotiating with Apple for years over a licensing agreement for the trademark, but Apple lawyers had not signed and returned what Cisco believed was to have been the final contract. "There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission," said Mark Chandler, Cisco’s general counsel and senior vice president. "Today’s iPhone is not tomorrow’s iPhone."

The whole suit might turn out to be a tempest in a teapot: if Apple sends over a signed contract tomorrow, Cisco may well withdraw the suit. Trademark law requires trademark holders vigorously defend their marks against misuse; it may be that, given Apple’s very public unveiling of its iPhone at Macworld yesterday, Cisco’s legal counsel felt the company could not simply sit on its hands.

Linksys acquired the iPhone trademark in 2000 when it purchased Infogear, a maker of Internet information appliances. Infogear originally filed for the trademark in March of 1996.

Mobile

Apple’s new iPads are hardly new at all. Don’t waste your money

It has taken Apple four years to get around to updating the iPad Mini line, but the new iPad Mini is virtually identical to its predecessor. It’s joined by a confusing iPad Air with no obvious target audience. Is Apple just trying to sell…
Movies & TV

Netflix confirms it won’t be a part of Apple’s new video-streaming service

Netflix has confirmed that subscribers to Apple's new video streaming service won't have the option to view Netflix content on it. Apple is set to unveil its new TV service next week.
Computing

Apple’s rumored magazine subscription service could also launch on Macs

Apple is widely expected to debut its new Apple News magazine subscription service at a media event scheduled for March 25. Now, through code leaks, it's also believed that users will be able to read magazines on their Macs.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for March 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for March 2019.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Mobile

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.
Mobile

Even older Apple Watches could be effective at spotting heart conditions

The Apple Watch Series 4 is known for detecting heart conditions like atrial fibrillation thanks to having an electrocardiograph feature. It turns out that older Apple Watches could be effective at tracking AFib, too.
Mobile

iPad Air vs. iPad Mini: Which new tablet from Apple is best for you?

Apple has unveiled two new iPad models, including a new iPad Air and a new iPad Mini. Both devices have a lot to offer. But which iPad is right for your needs? We put the iPad Air and iPad Mini to the test to find out.
Deals

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for March 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for March 2018.
Deals

Amazon drops price on Apple Watch Series 4 with a rare deal

Since Apple first unveiled the Series 4, the price for one has pretty much held fast. This has finally started to change with a nice little $15 discount on Amazon. If you've been wanting the newest Apple Watch, now is a great time.
Computing

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.
Mobile

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.