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Cisco Lost Rights to iPhone Trademark Last Year?

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the use-it-or-lose-it dept.

Communications 162

An anonymous reader writes "An investigation into the ongoing trademark dispute between Cisco and Apple over the name "iPhone" appears to show that Cisco does not own the mark as claimed in their recent lawsuit. This is based on publicly available information from the US Patent and Trademark office, as well as public reviews of Cisco products over the past year. The trademark was apparently abandoned in late 2005/early 2006 because Cisco was not using it."

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162 comments

Old News (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17590940)

iKnow that

--Steve

Re:Old News (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591434)

Trademark invalid for Cisco means Apple won't get it either. IN YOUR FACE, RIM-JOBS FANBOIS!

Re:Old News (5, Interesting)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591632)

RTFA, a front company for Apple is next in line.

If Apple can prove in federal court that the Declaration of Use contained misstatements of fact, i.e. that there was no continuous use, then Cisco's registration can be canceled. This could clear the way for the next company in line for the iPhone trademark, Ocean Telecom Services LLC (widely regarded as a front company for Apple). It could also explain why Apple decided not to sign the agreement Cisco proposed.

EGH! OLPC is very dumb (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591516)

and gay [goatse.ch] .

umm (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 7 years ago | (#17590944)

oops!

He's not a fan boy, but not a lawyer either (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591238)

I am pretty sure this means jack. Anybody claiming the use of a trademark receives protection with or without registration. Registration just gets you immediate action in the courts preventing apple from selling anything without hearing from apple. It also gives you the right to put TM next to the logo. If they were using it and had obvious intentions to reuse it then they are likely safe in the trademark and the registration, no matter what reason they are reusing it. The Europe one is more interesting as they have protocols to fight trademarks, but here it doesn't matter.

That is one reason why trademark squatting can somewhat work here such as that guy who owns 'stealth'. Paying is usually easier than fighting over here, and trying to get a judge to overturn a trademark may be impossible no matter how bad the situation.

Re:He's not a fan boy, but not a lawyer either (4, Informative)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591702)

Cisco is registered for the trademark, that much is certain.

The issue here is whether or not their registration can be revoked due to failure to use the trademark. The article mentions that a registered trademark should be in continual use throughout the registration. As Cisco had no "iPhone" product until late in the grace period there seems to be a good case for the registration to be revoked.

Now, as you say they may still be protected, but this opens the door still for Apple to register the trademark. I can hardly think that Cisco will be able to defend a trademark that was revoked against someone else who holds the registration.

TM vs. R (3, Informative)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592776)

In fact, in the UIS at least you can use "TM" from when you begin the claim, you can use "R" once it's actually registered.

I guess that goes to show... (0)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17590946)

...that trigger-happy lawyers should check their facts before they jump onto something. This is likely why apple was 'too busy' to talk to them. If they started using the trademark asap, then this would come along and make it go away without so much as a press release/quote on apple's part.

I love happy endings.

Re:I guess that goes to show... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591024)

It hasn't ended yet. The "experts" listed in the blog aren't the ones making the ultimate legal decisions.

Re:I guess that goes to show... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592320)

Lawyers are hired guns, but they are not the gunmen, their clients are. When someone walks into a lawyer's office with a complaint (or brings one to the lawyers on staff, if it's a big company), they will look to see if there is ANY amount of legal merit and, if so, begin to work on the case. Their job isn't to filter cases by how ridiculous they are, it's to filter cases without any legal merit. If you were Cisco, wouldn't you at least TRY to save your trademark? I think so.

Yoga Fire! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17590960)

SONIC BOOM!

hadouken!

simple solution (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17590982)

Cisco should just rebrand their iPhone product line and call them Apple Phones.

Re:simple solution (4, Funny)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591072)

I like "Cisc-o-Fone" myself. It's got a retro sound to it. "Disco Stu! Loves his Cisc-o-Fone!"

Re:simple solution (3, Funny)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591526)

I have a hard time believing that he would ever make an obvious promotional statement like that. Don't you know that Disco Stu doesn't advertise?

Re:simple solution (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591584)

"Disco Stu! Loves his Cisc-o-Fone!"

      OMG, thanks for the flashback, you bastard. Retro is ok and all, but THE SEVENTIES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN!

Re:simple solution (1)

First Person (51018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592290)

THE SEVENTIES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN!

I'm afraid that you're pretty much doomed unless you take the cyanide-coated exit. Only 63 more years to go.

Re:simple solution (1)

DoctorPepper (92269) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592648)

OMG, thanks for the flashback, you bastard. Retro is ok and all, but THE SEVENTIES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN!

To paraphrase: "Those who remember the seventies... mostly lie about their age."

Too Late Buddy (4, Funny)

thedbp (443047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592706)

1. Unclear, unjustified war in a sovereign nation - Check.
2. National obsession with dance at the expense of expanded consciousness - Check.
3. Horrific fashion - Check.
4. Youth culture co-opted by advertising - Check.
5. Government stomping all over personal liberty - Check.

Sorry, dude, you're too late. The Seventies are back in force.

Re:Too Late Buddy (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593294)

Well according to my parents that was the 1960's not the 1970's but according to my grand parents it was the 1950's, People who are between them sate that these were the situation of the 1980 and some even say that was the case during the 1990's Sorry dude but things really don't change that much. Just because you were kid the previous generation and were to stupid to know what was going on doesn't make that generation any better.

Re:simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592752)

OMG, thanks for the flashback, you bastard. Retro is ok and all, but THE SEVENTIES MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN AGAIN!
You mean like everything today being targeted toward rap, street speak, hip-hop, gangsta and extremely loud thumps that can be heard from 2 miles away (a.k.a. "music")? Imagine being in the '70s and Disco is used everywhere. That's how I've been feeling for the last 5 years.

STOP USING THE FUCKING "STREET/GANGSTA" STYLE - THAT'S NOT FOR EVERYONE! DUMBASSES!

Re:simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592208)

Apple Phones?

Pfft. Banana Phones.

Re:simple solution (1)

Arwing (951573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592438)

I am sorry, the word Cisco has been ruined since that no talent hack rapper came out using the same (sounding) name

Those Little Details (4, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17590992)

Hmmm, this reminds me of those stories that come up from time to time about some big corporation forgetting to renew their domain names. If the outcome of the trademark dispute comes down to this, it will argue strongly for paying attention to the little details. In any case, you can bet corporate lawyers all over the U.S. are going to be checking their trademark papers this weekend!

Re:Those Little Details (5, Interesting)

Skater (41976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591068)

Or, better yet, of Universal's lawsuits over the game "Donkey Kong" when it first came out - I saw someone mention it on /. the other day. If you're not familiar with the story, it's a pretty good read [wikipedia.org] . Briefly, Universal sued on the grounds that Donkey Kong was a rip off of King Kong, and lost in part because they'd argued in another recent case that King Kong was a public domain character.

Re:Those Little Details (5, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591350)

Hmmm, this reminds me of those stories that come up from time to time about some big corporation forgetting to renew their domain names. If the outcome of the trademark dispute comes down to this, it will argue strongly for paying attention to the little details.

Not at all. If TFA is right, this has nothing to do with 'little details'. The big details are that Cisco had no product called 'iPhone' for years, and recently just stuck a sticker on a picture of an existing product, rebranding it 'iPhone', when renewing the trademark, when no such branding existed in the real world.

Re:Those Little Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591480)

It doesn't matter if Cisco had a working product or not. What matters if they were using the iPhone trademark, that is, they were using it in their ads, promotions, documentation, communications, web site and so forth.

It also does not matter if the trademark was registered with the USPTO.

As long as Cisco can prove that they were using the trademark, the Fruit company will lose that law suit.

You're missing the point (5, Insightful)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591590)

To successfully defend a trademark, you have to show you've been consistently using it for years. Cisco couldn't do that - they had to stick a sticker on the outside of a shrink-wrap of another package. Do you not think if they actually *had* a product called the iPhone, they'd have taken a photo of that ?

Score one for the fruit company...

Simon.

Re:You're missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592730)

It's you who's missing the point. You think that "use" means having a product. I'm telling you that this is a false. Read the message you've replied to again, it's quite clear in this regard.

Re:Those Little Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592770)

If it was not in wide use (and this was not), then the law is going to look to whether the sudden use of the mark less than 1 month ago after 5 years of disuse qualifies for protection of the mark. Since the product Cisco stuck the sticker on top of already existed under a completely different trademark that had been in continuous use, there is all the reason in the world the courts will not rule in Cisco's favor. Even better, in Europe there is zero chance Cisco will be able to continue with its charade of claiming use of a mark they had not been using until after Apple started good-faith negotiations with them. And in the U.S. the Supreme Court just ruled that licensing something does not prevent the company signing up for the license from challenging the legal validity of the thing being licensed.

You can keep making your statements until you are blue in the face, but this is far from over. In point of fact, it appears Apple is likely to prevail on the merits and not your pipe dream of the opposite outcome. As the tagging for this article says, ha-ha.

Re:Those Little Details (4, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591838)

Not at all. If TFA is right, this has nothing to do with 'little details'. The big details are that Cisco had no product called 'iPhone' for years, and recently just stuck a sticker on a picture of an existing product, rebranding it 'iPhone', when renewing the trademark, when no such branding existed in the real world.

I believe that you and TFA are right, Cisco has not used the trademark in marketing their VOIP web/phone system. I'm looking at the box from one (ca. 2002) right now, and it is branded "Cisco IP Phone". Nowhere in the box, on the product or in the manual was it referred to as an "iPhone", "IPhone", "I Phone" or "I-Phone".

For that matter, I've seen the instruments placed on TV shows (e.g. "West Wing") and never seen any "iPhone" branding you would expect for a product placement on TV. Looks like they registered it and blew it off.

Re:Those Little Details (5, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592622)

Indeed, it appears less as though Cisco accidently let a valuable trademark lapse, and more like Cisco is attempting to hold onto a trademark they've never used and have no intention of using, for the sole purpose of using it as leverage against Apple. No one has any brand association with the name "iPhone" to any product other than the Apple iPhone anyway.

In Europe too! (5, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591020)

Cisco on brink of losing iPhone name in Europe [theregister.co.uk]

I had to read TFA twice just to be sure that it was actually about the trademark in the US, not Europe.

This is definitely turning out to be a crazy situation. I agree with TFA that this is probably why Apple didn't sign the contract with Cisco after all.

Re:In Europe too! (0, Troll)

MrCoke (445461) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591136)

True. And why would Cisco use it when Apple is negotiating a sweet deal with them !!!

Good stalling tactics too.

Name stealing nothing new. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591044)

If Apple can't come up with an own good name they just take someone elses. This isn't exactly the first time.

Apple - Sued by Apple records
Unix - Sued by Open Group
iPhone - Sued by Cisco

Re:Name stealing nothing new. (1, Funny)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591102)

If Apple can't come up with an own good name they just take someone elses. This isn't exactly the first time.

Apple - Sued by Apple records
Unix - Sued by Open Group
iPhone - Sued by Cisco

idiot - sued by you.

Re:Name stealing nothing new. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591174)

>idiot - sued by you.

iDiot

Err: 1D10T

Re:Name stealing nothing new. (1)

keehotee (1000279) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592056)

It's running OS X isn't it? Why don't they just call it the MacPhone and be done with it. It could come with a tartan case, and have bagpipe ringtones.

Re:Name stealing nothing new. (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592392)

Why don't they just call it the MacPhone and be done with it

Because the youngins would start to wonder what an Intosh is.

But Cisco has an iPhone already? (2, Interesting)

dclozier (1002772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591140)

Re:But Cisco has an iPhone already? (2, Insightful)

MattPat (852615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592732)

It's the proverbial "too little, too late." They released the iPhone only a month or so before they knew Apple was planning on announcing their iPhone, and didn't even do a good job about it (ie, stickers reading "iPhone" on existing product packaging).

The trademark was registered in 1999, and they only just started using it. Anyone with common sense can see it's because they knew Apple wanted it, and they thought they could squeeze a bit of cash out of them. Let's hope (for Apple's sake) that the judge has a little common sense. ;)

Disclaimer: yes, I'm a Mac user, but you have to admit that it certainly seems like Cisco's actions in all of this are just attempts to underhandedly get some money from Apple. Not that Apple's announcement of the iPhone wasn't somewhat underhanded... but hey, fight fire with fire.

You Know What This Proves? (2, Interesting)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591168)

The existence of the iTimeMachine. Doc Brown's gonna shit.

This is yet another flagrant incursion into history and unforgivable mussing of the timeline by Steve Jobs, a monster whose rampage will never end until our hard-working scientists develop a weapon that can pierce his infamous Reality Distortion Field. Myself, I suggest realigning the Bussard collectors to emit anti-neutrinos.

I dunno... (-1, Troll)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591272)

With the Declaration, you are required to file a copy of a label or other packaging showing the trademark in use.

Whether or not anyone thinks it's acceptable, possibly (IANAL) the label stating "iPhone" on the packaging is a "copy of a label" as stated in the requirements to prove use of a trademark. Just because it's Apple (and let's face it, there are few companies that create such fanatical fanboyism) it doesn't mean they have an automatic right to own the world. Or should everyone just roll over and give them everything they want, whenever they want?

Disclaimer: I live in Japan. Fuck... we've had 90% of the "5 years ahead of anything else" iPhone features for ages now.

Re:I dunno... (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591568)

Can you point me to some of the phones with those features, specifically a phone with an interface even close to what the iPhone has? I love Japanese technology, but I hadn't really seen anything quite like it before.

Re:I dunno... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591982)

The current model Treos, apparently. Only they actually have a thumb-pad, so you don't need that "I can't even get it right in the demo" virtual keyboard.

Re:I dunno... (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592238)

I own a Treo 650. It's not even close to what the iPhone is doing interface-wise. I also own a P990, which is about as far from the iPhone (or from the Treo, for that matter) as Windows 3.11 is from Mac OS X.

Re:I dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592428)

that's crap... the 650 does just about everything the iPhone will do...

my treo is a 2gig mp3 player,full interface with iTunes, Calendar and contacts, google maps with traffic analyzer, all my eamil, word/excel/powerpoint, I use it as a bluetooth remote to control powerpoint demos and I control iTunes on my laptop with it,it emulates my HP48 calculator.

The best part is that there is tons of software out there that will never be out there for the iPhone... I use it at work using the LD rigging calculator, and I also base my entire physical training around it, recording my workouts, body weight, body fat and interfacing with my heart rate monitor, at work I plug in a wiFi card and I remote control my Grand MA light board with it.

Now, all that said... yeah it is clunky... I am sure the iPhone with technology that is like 5 years more recent will be much more impressive...

but I will stay with a clunky piece of software until I can get third party applications like my heart rate monitor interface or a remote control software.

A phone is a computer interface to the rest of the world... it should be your tricorder. iPhone seems like it is trying to give you a simple mac remote with communicator... locking you in to all things Mac... which I would do... but they just haven't and won't expand their tech into realms I need tech.

Re:I dunno... (3, Interesting)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592970)

Hey, don't get me wrong, I like my Treo 650 too; and mostly for the third party stuff, like Salling Clicker (which I also use to control ZoomPlayer and iTunes remotely on my PC). But the OS has been stagnating for years, and the UI of a lot of the apps are kind of clunky. For a lot of what I do ultimately use my Treo for, it is kind of a pain in the ass. I.e. web browsing; Blazer just stinks, and I've practically given up on even bothering to use real websites with it, instead using WAP versions of sites when I can. From what I've seen of the iPhone demonstrations, Apple has really moved things forward interface wise.

I certainly do hope to see the iPhone become a better platform for third party apps eventually, but even with nothing else, I can see ditching my Treo when it comes out. And I'm hoping that the few third party apps I do use on the Treo do make their way to the iPhone, one way or the other..... would love to have Salling Clicker on it, for example.

Actually, the other big thing I use my Treo for is as a host for TomTom navigator, but I could probably see giving that up to and just getting a physical TomTom device instead.

Re:I dunno... (1)

2sheds (78194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593300)

> Blazer just stinks, and I've practically given up on even bothering to use real websites with it, instead using WAP versions of sites when I can.

Opera Mini [operamini.com] is your friend.

Re:I dunno... (1)

arclyte (961404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592312)

treos? wow. never heard of that. how would you translate that from the japanese?

in case you didn't notice, the parent was asking about japanese technology that is so advanced that it beats out the current stock here in america and you tell us to look at the current stock that's here in america? well, you've got me beat...

of course, we're arguing over the merits of a product that does not yet exist on the market yet... this is like saying how much better halo 3 is than gears of war. i'm sure it will be better, but i'll reserve my judgements until it's in my hands.

we are, however, waiting to hear what in japan is similar... really. i know they sell things in asia that never make it to the U.S. or only make it here after extended delays, but it's not impossible to get your hands on such things, or at least read about them. I have yet to hear of a device like the iPhone with all of its features. I'd love to see one. I think the iPhone looks awesome but agree with those who criticize it. I don't like that they've aligned themselves with a big telco. I was hoping they'd help blow the lid off of the current lockdown they have on technology. It's a step in the right direction, but not quite there yet. I'm sure we'll be seeing unlocked versions soon after it's released, though. If you've got something light years ahead of the iPhone in Japan already, though, please tell me. I'll pay the extra shipping to get my hands on that instead.

Re:I dunno... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591608)

Laws should be applied equally to all, regardless of who it is. Politicians. Cops. Firemen. Doctors. Corporations. Blacks. Whites. etc.

The trademark laws are fair here. Sticking a label onto shrinkwrap is not a) showing use for the past 5 years CONTINUOUSLY as the law requires, b) shows any evidence this was "use" of a trademark. Use being something the public saw when purchasing the product; they didn't.

Indeed, it seems misleading, even fraudulent, what Cisco did; they pretended that this was evidence of continuous use, public use? Please. I never heard of iphone until December and I've been looking at VOIP gear off and on for the past 6 months.

Fanboys? Sure. I used to be a Mac fanboy, back in the 68k and early PPC days. No longer. I (horrible, I know) like XP more than I like MacOS, although I dislike MS more than Apple. I have no plans to buy the crippled Apple phone/iphone either, unless Cingular has some whopping cheap plans (like $60 a month for 1000+ minutes and unlimited EDGE).

Re:I dunno... (4, Informative)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592052)

The problem is that the product that bore the "iPhone" label in the declaration (Linksys CIT200) hadn't ever been associated with that name, so it seems to me that the sticker was an attempt to pull a fast one on the USPTO by representing the trademark as being actively used when in fact it wasn't and hadn't been for six years. The CIT200 was finally rebranded "iPhone" last month, but that was seven months after the declaration was filed and more than a year after the declaration had originally been due, and almost certainly after Cisco was aware of Apple's intentions.

IMHO Cisco fumbled badly, and they're desperately trying to recover.

Look out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592614)

Apple is going to sue you because your post was titled "I dunno". Don't you know Apple has the God-given right to own every word starting with the letter i? In fact, I suggest we all take a stand against Apple by refusing to use the letter i in all further communication. Who 1s w1th me?

Re:Look out (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593154)

In fact, I suggest we all take a stand against Apple by refusing to use the letter i in all further communication.

Expect a letter from Apple's lawyers over your unauthorized use of their trademarks "iSuggest" and "iIn".

Looks great but (1)

BeoCluster (995566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591316)

Can I Make a Beowulf Cluster of those iPhones ?

Re:Looks great but (1, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591538)

Can I Make a Beowulf Cluster of those iPhones ?

      Would that make it an iBeowulf Cluster, or a Beowulf iCluster? Damn, I'm so confused! Who do we sue next?

Re:Looks great but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17593350)

Obviously it would be an i(Beowulf Cluster).

Re:Looks great but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592536)

No, third party applications aren't allowed. When I met Steve he told me you might be able to do it through widgets.

Pity (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591348)

That's a pity because I would like to be able to buy an iHandy next year when the Apple moblie phone comes out.

USPTO website (2, Interesting)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591374)

I did a trademark search on uspto.gov, and it appeared to me that Cisco's iPhone trademark is listed as "LIVE", not "DEAD". IANAL, 'tis true. But we are talking about a ZDNet story, so I'm auto-skeptical.

Re:USPTO website (4, Informative)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591452)

TFA goes into and explains why it still shows as 'live' - this is a legal issue not a simple "is it in the registry" issue.

Re:USPTO website (2, Informative)

Shabbs (11692) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591600)

That's because Cisco did apply in time according to the rules, but the question remains if they were actually actively using the Trademark or not. Apple will try to show that they did not have a single product out called the iPhone and thus, the application should be nullified. If it is, next in line gets it, and it looks to be a front company for Apple. Surprise, surprise.

Cheers.

I though they were getting along ok.. (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591392)

Yes, I know the news of Cisco versus Apple case has been out for a while now, but what ever happened to reports [engadget.com] that the two corporations were getting along ok?

From Engadget:
Apple "iPhone," huh? As we're all aware, that's the name of the new Linksys VoIP phone which Cisco (Linksys' parent company) owns the trademark to. So what's next? Another protracted legal battle for Apple? Oh hells no, son. After Steve dropped their latest i-bomb, Cisco told MarketWatch that they've been in "extensive discussions" with Apple recently and "it is our belief that Apple intends to agree to the final document. We expect to receive a signed agreement today (Tuesday)." Sweet.

I guess that all fell through. Ah well, now we've just got more Apple rumours. Let's hope this all ends quickly so we can stop guessing about what might happen.

it all just a plot to .... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591428)

.... promote "Iphone" which is not really my phone but his phone as not third part apps will be allowed.

Cisco -vs- Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591498)

iPwnd

To quote a Slashdotter on the last iPhone thread.. (0, Redundant)

Diordna (815458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591522)

(though I can't remember his name)

iPH0WN3D!

So that's it! (4, Funny)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591708)

If this checks out, Youch! Everyone was wondering what was behind Apple so brazenly using the iPhone trademark. Cringely wrote a whole piece on it http://pbs.org/cringely [pbs.org] but no one guessed something as simple as this!

Memo to self: Don't play Poker with Steve Jobs.

zdnet article quotes /.er.... (4, Interesting)

nblender (741424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591712)

I RTFA and thought the commentary looked familiar: http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=216560&c id=17578608 [slashdot.org]

Re:zdnet article quotes /.er.... (offtopic) (1)

Achoi77 (669484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591970)

when I read your post my immediate digg-like fanboy reaction was to say, "For shame! Who is Jay Behmke that he can steal quotes from the web and use it as his own?!"

Then I look a look at the /. poster's ID number:

(Score:5, Informative)
by jmbehmke1 (1050394) Alter Relationship on Friday January 12, @02:23PM (#17578608)

oh.

Then I proceeded to wipe the egg that was on my face. The internet has made me a little too on edge. :-(

Maybe (2, Interesting)

KidSock (150684) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591732)

Maybe this is why apple didn't come out with an iPhone before. They were waiting to see if they would let the trademark lapse.

Re:Maybe (1)

TheCybernator (996224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592002)

i am waiting for iPr0n

Mar!e (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591780)

explo1ted that. A log on Then the

sure, right, as if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591808)

i bet if i used the trademark, i wouldn't have a snowballs chance in hell

on the other hand, if i was an evil corporation with a staff of greedy lawyers

The guns are now pointed the other way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17591816)

Next story will be Apple suing Cisco, though neither own the name, doesnt mean lawyers wont find something to sue for.

My money is on Apple winning this one. (4, Interesting)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17591912)

In the words of bugs bunny: How now brown cow?

The fickle commentaries crack me up. First it was WTF was Apple thinking? Then it was Cisco is in the right, Apple is wrong / evil / brazen. How stupid could they be. They're gonna have to rename it to @Phone. Blah blah blah.

Did anyone honestly think Apple would name their product the iPhone, full well knowing that Cisco had the trademark unless they were completely confident that it was both A) worth the legal headache and B) that they have a very good case and therefor chance of triumphing in this dispute?

Re:My money is on Apple winning this one. (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592420)

you're forgetting c) the great publicity their jesus phone is getting from this whole debate

Re:My money is on Apple winning this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592468)

One word: Rendezvous... I mean Bonjour....

Yes, I think they would.

Seems to me that... (1)

wfolta (603698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592516)

even if Apple knew they'd lose, the would get the buzz from the obvious "IPhone" for 6 months until the real thing comes out -- with the added lawsuit and "will they lose the name" buzz to keep it on front pages -- then they could rebrand it the Apple Phone or the iTunes Phone or whatever and get even MORE buzz as they get the release publicity plus the "Apple had to rebrand their phone" publicity that would of course also describe the phone.

Sort of like the old saying, "I don't care what you print about me in your newspaper as long as you spell my name right". (Or something like that.)

Featured iPhone (3, Informative)

trofer (986393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592028)

iPhone is now a featured product [cisco.com] on Cisco's Website. I don't know if it was there before the iPhone was announced or before this trademark non-usage news came out, but surely it's related with Apple's iPhone.

Re:Featured iPhone (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592446)

On the iPhone product page there's a link that leads to amazon.com.
The "Linksys WIP320 Linksys Wireless-G Skype iPhone" has two pictures. One full frontal picture and one in perspective. The full frontal one has iPhone in the middle but the perspective doesn't.
Probably because it was too hard for them to put the iphone logo on that one.

Re:Featured iPhone (2, Interesting)

nhz (992573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593092)

Disclaimer - I'm definitely not an Apple fanboy. I just wanted to find first-hand whatever I could about this situation.
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.cisco.com [archive.org]
has a nice listing of previous cisco home pages. I browsed through this quite a bit, and it looked like they were using the term "communicator" extensively. I didn't see iPhone on any of these historical pages. I'm inclined to think they just might have made "iPhone" a new, featured product in the last 72 hours.
Interestingly, I did find iphone by VocalTec in 1996, see:
http://web.archive.org/web/19961225003516/www.voca ltec.com/iphone.htm [archive.org]
but since VocalTec is an Israeli telecom equipment provider, and IANAL, I don't know what to make of this. My only thought is that probably their iPhone is no longer being actively used, and I don't know if it was even a trademarked name.

Somebody need to go to jail (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592084)

Cisco regiters trademark.

Cisco files Delcaration of Use, with "under penalty of perjury" affidavit stating they are using the name.

Now it sounds like everything will hinge on the following:
AT a former FA:
2001 - 2006: Cisco continues servicing and providing technical support for the iPhone

So internal documentation may/probably shows continuous use of iPhone in regards to the support of an existing product.

Either

(A) the trademark is shown to be valid, as internal documents support the continued use of the trademark for support purposes OR
(B) they don't have the documentation, or it is deemed invalid, in which case whomever signed the extension is clearly guilty of perjury and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In my opinion, you can't have it both ways - the tradmark is valid and the signer is ok, or the trademark is invalid and the signer goes to jail. There is no middle ground.

Now, in other thoughts on the matter:

      (1) If the trademark is up for grabs, and Cisco has an iPhone product on the market which pre-dates the Apple cellular product, don't they still have "dibs" on the name? Can't they re-file for the trademark, and presumably be first in line because of an actual shipping product?

      (2) Can Chevy come out with their new "Fairlane" model next year, since Ford clearly is not producing a Fairlane and haven't for more than 7 years? If Ford claims to keep it by offering parts and service for the Fairlane, wouldn't that bolster the case For Cisco, which has supported "their" iPhone product with (at least) service for the last 6 years?

Apple must have known/business tactics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592090)

I bet the reason why Apple extended the protracted negotiations with Cisco past the 11th hour was simply to keep the iPhone product a secret. Perhaps Apple knew all along that Cisco's rights to the name were questionable at best. If Cisco had known that Apple was never going to really finalize negotiations, do you think Cisco would have remained mum about the whole situation?

If this is the case, Apple just pulled off some funny/clever business maneuvers, all for the sake of secrecy.

USPTO (1)

Scorchmon (305172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592174)

The writer makes an excellent case, but I can't help but think about how is all under the authority of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Anyone of us can see that they just slapped an "iPhone" sticker on another product, but with all of the stories of how incompetent the USPTO is with granting patents without much thought as to its authenticity, who thinks that practice doesn't carry over into their dealing with trademarks? If they handle their handling of trademarks the same way they do patents, I can easily see Cisco having been successfully granted an extension on the trademark and it standing up in court.

Why aPhone? (5, Funny)

Bright Apollo (988736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592280)

Y'know, seeing as how it's an Apple product, they can rebrand the whole of their catalog (usher in the new era of Apple Inc). That way you can own aMac and aPhone and aServer with aWirelessLAN. Of course, you could also get aLife...

-BA

Re:Why aPhone? (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592912)

dude, i don't have mod points right now, but props for cracking me up so early in the morning...that was fricking hilarious.

Why is Apple "The good guys" ?? (1, Flamebait)

AftanGustur (7715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592368)


Did I fall asleep and miss something ?

Why is Apple, the world's largest DRM company which loves to use it's lawyers to crush and close any blog which mentions it's upcoming product, now suddenly the "good guys" ?

Re:Why is Apple "The good guys" ?? (1)

pboyd2004 (860767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592578)

Because this is Slashdot and Apple is automatically good, Microsoft is automatically bad, and everything needs to run Linux.

Re:Why is Apple "The good guys" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17593284)

Why is Apple, the world's largest DRM company which loves to use it's lawyers to crush and close any blog which mentions it's upcoming product, now suddenly the "good guys" ?
Why does having DRM, or keeping company secrets make them NOT the good guys? Your comment isn't as intuitive as you seem to think it is.

Here's proof of continuous use by Cisco (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592604)

This is just some bloggers, not a legal opinion, even if it's from a lawyer.

Here's a demonstration that Cisco was continuously using the trademark: the support web site for the iPhone [archive.org] , as archived at archive.org. "With InfoGear recently being acquired by Cisco Systems, there is currently no change to your iPhone coverage. We hope you continue to enjoy using your iPhone, and we thank you for your business. So, even if Cisco wasn't selling new units, they were still supporting the old ones. That page has been archived every year since 2000, so that's a form of continuous use.

There's an active user base. The University of Florida went iPhone [ufl.edu] . There's a description of their configuration here. [ufl.edu] They have a VoIP infrastructure with three Cisco CallManagers, two Cisco 6608 VoIP gateways, a Cisco Unity voice mail system, and many Cisco IP telephones, some of which are iPhone units, on desktops. The University of Pennsylvania also went iPhone. [upenn.edu] There are probably corporate installations too, but they tend not to publish their phone instructions on the public web. Those installations have to be supported, which is something Cisco does, and gets paid for. Cisco is in the network infrastructure business, after all.

As long as there's support, and support-related revenue, the trademark is clearly in use.

Re:Here's proof of continuous use by Cisco (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592990)

Supporting a product that is not being sold is not a form of use with trademarks. Use is actually selling (or trading) a product with that mark. Cisco made a conscious decision not to continue using the iPhone trademark it bought by buying InfoGear (who actually used the trademark up until 2000). My guess is Cisco did not want to be associated with the "playfulness" of the "i" prefix. Apple has, after all, generally used it for consumer products (not the serious business market Cisco is after) and its seminal and most-famous use is in naming a computer called cute: the iMac.

It is readily apparent Cisco only re-started use of the mark after 5 years (late last month) in order to confound good faith negotiations by Apple over the unused branding mark. Apple is correct to pursue the de-registration of this disused mark.

You are mistaken to believe supporting a product with a certain mark constitutes "use" of that mark in the trademark sense.

Re:Here's proof of continuous use by Cisco (5, Informative)

palmer64s (1049988) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593194)

Nope. A trademark by definition indicates source of origin. Support does not count, because no product or service is being originated by the company under the trademark. This is especially true in this case, since the iPhone was actually produced by another company, InfoGear. Cisco has apparently never produced an iPhone during the period in which they registered that trademark.

Re:Here's proof of continuous use by Cisco (1)

Crispy Critters (226798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593384)

"Here's a demonstration that Cisco was continuously using the trademark:"

Seems iffy. After all, lots of places offer Linux support, but that does not give them rights to the name Linux. The mere mention of the mark iPhone in describing the service is not the same as using it as the name of a product or service. This is like the difference between an automobile company selling Fords and a garage advertising that they fix Fords.

When the mark is registered, the product also has to be specified. The original mark was presumably applied to the physical phone. That object has not been available for sale throughout the required period. Using "iPhone" in the description of service is not the same as having "iPhone" as part of the trademarked name of a service.

Re:Here's proof of continuous use by Cisco (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17593558)

Support is not use, in trademark terms. Existence of a support website (that says InfoGear was recently acquired by Cisco) does not support a claim of use of a trademark. It might support a claim of use of a service mark.

University of Florida [ufl.edu] refers to an IPhone service (note the capitalization), not an iPhone product. In fact, most of the time Florida refers to its VoIP service as I-Phone (note the capitalization and dash):

I-Phone is a new solutions-offering presented by OIT-Telecom that takes advantage of the convergence of voice and data networks.
The I-Phone service is part of the "services-to-wallplate" model that is offered by OIT-Network Services and is designed to ultimately provide an enterprise communications solution for the University of Florida.


University of Pennsylvania [upenn.edu] refers to a web-based service called My iPhone (alternatively referred to as Penn iPhone):

My iPhone is a web service that allows you to manage certain telephone features and voice mail options from a web browser.

Neither University is using a product called iPhone (except legacy units purchased 5+ years ago). They are both using a service they refer to as, in the case of Florida, I-Phone (VoIP) and, in the case of Pennsylvania, My iPhone (web manager).

Cisco's disuse of the mark in trade for a period of five plus years hurts their case considerably. A support web page that has not changed in five plus years offering service with respect to the mark may help a bit, but not much.

Yet another article about the iPhone trademark ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17592628)

... seriously, I don't understand what's SO interesting about this topic that warrants so many slashdot submissions.

Cisco bought the trademark from some small company and now that Apple is using it Cisco has decided to sue Apple. Has anything newsworthy happened since? Didn't think so ...

product name such news? (1)

mrcdeckard (810717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592638)


ok, i'm a begrudgingly admitted macboi, and *i'm* tired of hearing about the iphone debate. it's like arguing the existence of god (or something) -- what does it matter?

mr c

This would explain a lot (1)

Swift2001 (874553) | more than 7 years ago | (#17592948)

This would explain why the "iPhone" by Cisco came out a week before Apple's iPhone. This would also explain why it's such a lame, slapped-together design.

If it's true, then you can see why trademarks lapse if not used or enforced. Why, otherwise, companies could buy up a bunch of trademarks, or think up obvious ones, and sue in perpetuity. Not that that's what's happening here, of course. Kaff, kaff.

Cisco has a good reputation for quality on the corporate (premium) market, and they also are worshipped by a certain kind of business school graduate, but just look at that mess of a website, and I'd say their corporate culture sucks hard.

Cisco does not own the mark as claimed (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593100)

Irrelevant. Anyone who thinks that court cases are won because something does or does not satisfy certain conditions laid down in legal statutes is very naive. All that matters is how much each party has to spend on lawyers to convince a judge. Once convinced, the judge will then write up his or her decision with a post hoc rationalization to make it appear that the decision followed from rules. And so it goes.

How does iphone.org impact this dispute? (1)

amper (33785) | more than 7 years ago | (#17593330)

Because it would seem from the whois information that the record for the domain "iphone.org" was created on 16 Dec 1999, and since that time, has pointed directly to the Apple WWW site. Doesn't that qualify as a "continuous usage"? Wouldn't that make Apple, Inc. (nee Computer) next in line for the registration rather than Ocean Telecom? The existance of "iphone.org" was widely reported in the press back when.

The other question I have is whether or not an invalidity of the trademark registration necessarily invalidates a trademark. After all, isn't it a well-known principle of IP law that a trademark need not necessarily be registered to be valid, as long as the trademark holder can show prior and continous usage of the same? Also, remember that trademarks are generally only held to be valid within a certain sphere. The same word can function as a trademark for completely different concerns in dissimilar market spaces.

Whatever the outcome of this dispute, Steve Jobs pulled a brilliant marketing stunt by introducing the product as the iPhone. Even if Cisco eventually retains the trademark registration, the word iPhone is now indelibly imprinted on the public's mind as the name of Apple's new cell phone (not that it wasn't already, but this cemented it). As for myself, I never even heard of Cisco's so-called product until they apparently rushed it to market because of all the hype surrounding what was believed to be the impending release of the Apple product.

Let's face it, Cisco is a pretty lame company, and they always have been. Those of us who were installing wide-area networking routers in the early-mid 1990's will know what I mean.

Article is wrong: iPhone is a registered trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17593342)

Here's the posting from the USPTO web site, clearly showing that iPhone is a live, registered trademark:

Word Mark IPHONE
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks. FIRST USE: 19970606. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19970606
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Design Search Code
Serial Number 75076573
Filing Date March 20, 1996
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Published for Opposition December 29, 1998
Registration Number 2293011
Registration Date November 16, 1999
Owner (REGISTRANT) INFOGEAR TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 1775 WOODSIDE ROAD REDWOOD CITY CALIFORNIA 94061
(LAST LISTED OWNER) CISCO TECNOLOGY, INC. CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 170 WEST TASMAN SAN JOSE CALIFORNIA 95134

Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record KAREN MARIE KITTERMAN
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Affidavit Text SECT 8 (6-YR).
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
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