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iPhone Lawsuit Put On Hold For The Moment

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the show's-over-folks-go-on-home dept.

The Courts 72

SoulReaverDan writes "The recent lawsuit between Cisco and Apple on the iPhone trademark has taken an interesting turn. Cisco and Apple have agreed to a temporary truce, to allow Apple time to respond to the lawsuit (and, one assumes, avoid more legal fees). The article goes on to mention Apple's claim that several companies are using the iPhone name, which dovetails nicely with a great blog entry over on ZDNet. Alan Graham lays out a search of various websites, showing that not only is Cisco not the only one using the iPhone name, they're trying to use it just a little too hard. The image of the CIT300 (note this is NOT the CIT400 that Cisco is suing Apple for at all) on Amazon has the iPhone logo, but it lacks the logo on the Linksys website or on CDW's website."

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72 comments

bare (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17860560)

obv....

iWankers (1)

Fist! Of! Death! (1038822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860714)

The lot of them

Re:iWankers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17861222)

iDontCare

Does Cisco have the patent on that?

Sue Me Cisco

Re:iWankers (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862240)

Don't you mean "sosumi" ?

Re:iWankers (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17869468)

For those not in the know, Sosumi was the name of an alert sound included with Macs after Apple, Inc. (then Apple Computer, Inc.) agreed not to enter the music business to settle a TM infrignement suit with The Beatles' record label, Apple Corps. Including sound playback capabilities in the Mac was pushing the envelope. Long story short, Apple (makers of the Mac) included "Sosumi" (read: So Sue Me) as a taunt.

Re:iWankers (1)

slcdb (317433) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862940)

Damn that's funny. Not that it should be. But for some reason *everything* is much more funny when it's in British English.

Oh. My. God. (5, Interesting)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860724)

Oh. My. God. Seriously, if I see one more damn iPhone story on here talking about the trademark issue, I'm going to buy an iPhone when it comes out, just so I can smash it to a million bits.

Nobody cares. Let me know when there's something *meaningful* to report.

Re:Oh. My. God. (3, Interesting)

esobofh (138133) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860956)

I dunno.. i'm a business analyst for a large telco that purchases millions of dollars in Cisco equipment. What does this tell me about Cisco when they are stooping so low as to photoshop an unused "trademark" into the picture as a last ditch effort to secure some lawsuit $$$?

This is extremely relevent to /. and it's users.

I'm sure this is not the first case of this either.

Re:Oh. My. God. (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861328)

It doesn't matter if they actually use the trademark or not; the trademark is federally registered [uspto.gov] (November 16, 1999), and that is proof, itself.

A. FEDERAL REGISTRATION. There are significant advantages to having a trademark properly registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Registration is proof of the validity of the mark and the registrant's ownership of the mark. 2. These legal presumptions simplify the evidence needed in an enforcement action and may result in a considerable savings in legal fees.

After five years, the mark becomes "incontestible." The registration is then conclusive evidence of validity and ownership, and the mark may only be canceled on certain specified grounds. 3. This is the most important benefit of a federal registration.

Re:Oh. My. God. (4, Insightful)

defy god (822637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861682)

well, if you click on the second link provided, you'll see that it actually does matter if they use the trademark (within the 5 years of your own quote). they have to show continued use of said trademark during those 5 years. that's what the fuss is about photoshopping the logos in, trying to fake their use of it. if not, they have 6 months to file a type of ammendment stating they did use it (which Cisco has filed). funny thing about that filing, employees of Cisco signed under risk of perjury that the trademark was fully in use. if it is later found that it was not, then comes in the other part of your quote stating that it can "only be canceled on certain specified grounds".

the photoshop work is trying to rewrite history. they are essentially rebranding their products to support their current claims on the trademark.

so what? (2, Insightful)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862672)

Yes, and Apple isn't using the trademark at all yet, since no iPhones are actually shipping.

So, even if Cisco just starts using the trademark now, they are still months ahead of Apple.

Of course, Apple knew that the iPhone trademark was claimed by Cisco since they were negotiating with them long before they released their iPhone. Looks to me like Apple is just trying to strong-arm the trademark away from Cisco by whatever means they can.

Re:so what? (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862818)

Yes, and Apple isn't using the trademark at all yet, since no iPhones are actually shipping.


Apple is currently advertising the iPhone, so they are using the trademark. http://www.apple.com/iphone/ [apple.com]

Re:so what? (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862952)

Apple is currently advertising the iPhone, so they are using the trademark. http://www.apple.com/iphone/ [apple.com]

So has Cisco, and apparently before the Apple announcement.

In any case, a trademark is "in use" only once a product has actually been sold under that name.

That is PRECISELY the point in question... (2, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17863774)

So has Cisco, and apparently before the Apple announcement.

Isn't the point to the article is that Cisco was apparently not using the name before the Apple announcement.

Re:That is PRECISELY the point in question... (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17870756)

Isn't the point to the article is that Cisco was apparently not using the name before the Apple announcement.

My point is that even if that were true, it doesn't matter, since Apple still isn't using the trademark; all Apple has is an "announcement" and a non-existent product. Why should a company that is not shipping a product and that has never owned the trademark get priority over a company that is shipping a product and has, in fact, owned the trademark (even if they were to have lost it temporarily in between)?

You seem to assume that Apple owns this trademark by default, but I see no reason why.

Re:That is PRECISELY the point in question... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17876190)

My point is that even if that were true, it doesn't matter, since Apple still isn't using the trademark;

They are, in fact, using the trademark. Product announcements count, as do advertising materials on web pages. Backdated product announcements and photoshopped web pages only count from the date you post them, not the date insinuated into them by the chichanery in question.

You seem to assume that Apple owns this trademark by default

Not at all. I somply don't assume that Cisco owns the trademark by default, and if Cisco is trying to create a fake paper trail implying they've been using it when they haven't then I don't think that Cisco's assuming that either.

Re:That is PRECISELY the point in question... (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883746)

They are, in fact, using the trademark. Product announcements count, as do advertising materials on web pages. Backdated product announcements and photoshopped web pages only count from the date you post them, not the date insinuated into them by the chichanery in question.

Well, let's assume for the sake of argument that that were true. What's the timeline then?

Apple starts negotiations with Cisco over the iPhone trademark long before Apple's product announcement. Cisco refrains from using the trademark for advertising or products until the negotiations are complete. Then, Apple turns around, simply announces the product and says "negotiations over, since we put the trademark to use before you".

Whichever way you look at it, Apple is the bad guys here. Sorry, but Apple's behavior on the "iPhone" trademark stinks.

Re:That is PRECISELY the point in question... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17890628)

Whichever way you look at it, Apple is the bad guys here.

I don't think this has anything to do with whether Apple or Cisco are "good guys" or "bad guys". They're corporations, they're pretty much mandated by SEC regulations to be chiselling conniving sons of bitched.

The point is that if this is Cisco's response it's really really stupid.

Re:so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17863846)

Cisco never used the trademark until December 18, 2006. A company Cisco bought in 2000 used the trademark. Once Cisco bought the company Cisco discontinued using the trademark until late last year. Consequently, using your definition of "use", Cisco submitted a falsified affidavit to the trademark office in order to extend the registration of a trademark Cisco was not continuously using at the time (during the five year applicable period prior to December 18, 2006 and as required by law). Since this falsified extension prevented any other company from reasonably being able to know the trademark was in fact available to use, it only stands to reason Cisco will lose its claim to the trademark during pending litigation. Prior Slashdot articles have explained this and why Cisco is going to lose its claim to the iPhone trademark in Europe.

Put a little differently, Cisco is up a tube and the plumber is busy collecting workman's comp.

Apple's iPhone (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17870120)

Obviously, you are not a lawyer, as Cisco is well within its legal rights to extend its use of the trademark on a product that it owns the trademark to and which appeared for sale (18 December 2006), well before any Apple product of the same name has appeared for sale on the market. In fact Apple has no iPhone product. It only has an announcement of a product and such an announcment does not contitute FTC acceptance of its purported claim to the use of a previously actively registered trademark name currently on file with the FTC. One can not squat on a trademark unless one actually has a product that is actually for sale. Further, the clause in the filing requirements necessary for maintaining one's trademark permit a grace period and Cisco is certainly well within the grace period as is evident given the date they filed suit against Apple. Consequently, there is simply no legal basis to make the false inference that any falsification was made. To my knowledge I have yet to hear any Apple executive indicate that it has filed a formal request to use Cisco's lawfully registered and lawfully extended trademark name.

If Cisco, which has had the trademark registered as required by law is unable to prevent Apple from using the iPhone name because Apple's iPhone is a cell phone whereas Cisco's iPhone is an Internet Phone, Apple is in big trouble. Unlike Apple Records, which had no recourse within the marketplace to prevent Apple Computer from selling music under the Apple label despite a court ordered enforcement provision, Cisco is not without such recourse. They could quite easily incorporate firmware in their routers to deny any Apple iPhone devices from attempting to link to the internet about 85% of which is poweerd by Cisco routers. That would mean that Apple's i(Cell)Phone would be essentially brain dead before it is even born, since Cisco's iPhone trademark would apply to any iPhone capable of accessing the internet. How ungeeky and uncool would you be if you had an iPhone that couldn't even link to the internet and you paid $500 plus $80/month in cell phone connect fees?

Apple better start thinking about settling rather than attempting to rely on its lawyers or it and its customers could get seriously burned by using an Apple iPhone device (or should one say a Cingular iCellPhone? Indeed, it is more likely that Apple's lawyers have finally informed their client that they really don't have a case and that they really need to negotiate a settlement with Cisco, lest things turn out badly for Apple and their self-inflicted PR disaster.

I'd be willing to bet that Apple settles this to Cisco's satisfaction before their phone actually appears on the market. They will find some way to save face with their cult followers and end the nightmare before it gets worse for them.

To put it a little differently, don't mess with the plumber unless you want your sewer to start backing up on you.

Re:Apple's iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17872216)

FTC? I am not sure how they got involved with this. Anyways, ...

One can not squat on a trademark unless one actually has a product that is actually for sale.

Thank you for making my point for me. Yes, you are right, Cisco cannot squat on a trademark unless Cisco actually has a product that is actually for sale. The five year period in which Cisco, by United States trademark law, needed to be "using" it trademark (using you definition of use) preceded December 18, 2006. So during litigation Cisco is going to lose its trademark to the term iPhone because Cisco lied to the USPTO (maybe that is what you meant by FTC?). You really do not understand this case. And, no, I am not putting myself out there as a lawyer. But you can... right? :)

Re:so what? (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17870742)

Since this falsified extension prevented any other company from reasonably being able to know the trademark was in fact available to use, it only stands to reason Cisco will lose its claim to the trademark during pending litigation.

Cisco owned the trademark, they registered it, they have been using it in the past, and they are using it now. The only claim Apple has on the trademark is some similarity to other names they are using and a premature product announcement. Even if Cisco did in fact lose the trademark, what reason on earth would there be for Apple to get it? Apple has absolutely nothing on the trademark other than a lot of arrogance.

Re:so what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17872360)

Nice of you to quote part of my post you aren't going to address. Here, I will repeat it in hopes you might address it in your next post:

Since this falsified extension prevented any other company from reasonably being able to know the trademark was in fact available to use, it only stands to reason Cisco will lose its claim to the trademark during pending litigation.

Not much point in discussing how Apple owns the trademark, since you will not even admit there is a possibility Cisco has lost the trademark for falsifying the extension application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Re:Oh. My. God. (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17866158)

Nevermind, I think I understand; I missed a section on the website [uspto.gov] about keeping the registration current. I think this is what you were referring to:

For a trademark registration to remain valid, an Affidavit of Use ("Section 8 Affidavit") must be filed: (1) between the fifth and sixth year following registration, and (2) within the year before the end of every ten-year period after the date of registration. The registrant may file the affidavit within a grace period of six months after the end of the sixth or tenth year, with payment of an additional fee.

Re:Oh. My. God. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17861192)

Nobody cares. Let me know when there's something *meaningful* to report.

1) Don't waste your own time reading stories that you don't find interesting.
2) Don't waste your own time commenting on same.

Re:Oh. My. God. (5, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861470)

I'm going to buy an iPhone when it comes out, just so I can smash it to a million bits.

Which one?

So if Apple wins the rights, then what (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860798)

happens when someone else down the road comes up with gear using the name as well, if not a phone what about accessories.

I am curious what goes down then.

It depends (1)

btarval (874919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861530)

If Apple wins the actual rights to Cisco's trademark, then computer-based accessories won't be allowed to use the name. Here's what the trademark covers:

"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"

This is from USPTO Trademark Registration [uspto.gov] #2293011

Browsing the TESS database there is always amusing. For example, I see 10 live claims pending for the "iPhone" trademark, and one dead claim. It will be really amusing if the USPTO grants those other claims, as at least some look like they would infringe.

The real question is whether Cisco's claim is still valid though. IMHO (IANAL), this claim has been lost. In which case Apple would have yet another battle to fight, if any of those claims are granted.

Finally (hey, I said I found this stuff amusing), you can look up the registrations for "GNU". It's 2861936. And for "Linux", it's 1916230. Yes, GNU was registered after Linux.

Who cares? (0, Redundant)

JayTech (935793) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860808)

I don't see what the fuss is about. Who really cares what a device is named? Call it whatever you want (other than iPoo), as long as it works... that's all I care about.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Cygfrydd (957180) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861202)

Why are you worried about iPoo when you should be worried about U-No-Poo, the constipation sensation that's...

...that sounded much funnier before I typed it. Must be HP fever induced by those promo pics from Equus [gryffindorgazette.com]. Shudder.

Enough Already (3, Funny)

Scorchmon (305172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860886)

Just go ahead and change the name to the Apple Phone from The New AT&T formerly the iPhone from Cingular formerly the old AT&T.

Re:Enough Already (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861008)

Just go ahead and change the name to the Apple Phone from The New AT&T formerly the iPhone from Cingular formerly the old AT&T.
I think the new AT&T is actually at&t now.

Re:Enough Already (1)

Scorchmon (305172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862198)

I actually saw a commercial for Cingular which said they're now The New AT&T.

Re:Enough Already (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862418)

Yeah. Pretty amazing. When all is said and done, I will have changed my cell provider from AT&T Wireless to Cingular and back to AT&T Wireless without even trying. :-D

What I want to know is... (2, Funny)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860912)

When did Billy Corgan [imdb.com] gain weight, change his name to Alan Graham and start writing a tech column?

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

zaliph (939896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861156)

Particularly, a tech column that could have been condensed to one page rather than five. Furthermore, a "great blog entry" should be insightful, not commenting on screenshots regarding an overhyped and ultimately publicity-driven issue.

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17863562)

Just so you know I originally posted it as one page and Ziff split it into 5. I had nothing to do with that. Other than that I'm sorry that you didn't find it insightful. That's why I'm going back to the music business. I prefer music critics.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

zaliph (939896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17864598)

Music publishers would cut up their reviews into five pages if reviews generated the page views that a Slashdot posting can provide. But the real problem is that this approach hurts the content immensely. I loathe clicking through more than one page on an article to the point where I don't want to keep reading, and I know I'm not alone. There is no purpose to cutting up an article that haphazardly beyond increasing ad views, which is highly opportunistic and discourages me from visiting a site in the future.

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17866078)

I agree with you. I think it flowed much better when it was one piece...which was my intent and what I originally posted.

Apple is a bit of a no win situation with the (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860916)

lawsuit. If they win and the courts decide that placing an i in front of phone is not trademarkable, then they run the risk of losing the ability to protect their own iPhone mark and trying to control the use of i-word marks in the electronics industry (much as McDonald's does with Mc in fast food). OTOH, if they work out a license agreement then that risk is gone.

If they lose, then they need to rename the iPhone; with all the attendant costs.

Seems to me that an agreement is less risky than a lawsuit.

Re:Apple is a bit of a no win situation with the (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861204)

Apple is a bit of a no win situation with the lawsuit. If they win and the courts decide that placing an i in front of phone is not trademarkable, then they run the risk of losing the ability to protect their own iPhone mark and trying to control the use of i-word marks in the electronics industry (much as McDonald's does with Mc in fast food). OTOH, if they work out a license agreement then that risk is gone.

What Apple most likely will argue is that sharing the use of trademarks is allowable if the products are in different markets. ie. You can have a car named Comanche and a helicopter named Comanche. The only exception is name is so unique, but the company has to protect the trademark. In this case, Cisco has allowed other products to be name iPhone and didn't object.

Re:Apple is a bit of a no win situation with the (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861260)

I think the lawsuit is more about whether Cisco has a material interest in the iPhone name or not, rather than whether anyone can register the i(whatever) names.

they're already winning (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17863212)

no win situation

Quite to the contrary. Apple knew that Cisco claimed the trademark, and they were in negotiations when they announced the iPhone. Not only is the lawsuit not a problem for them, it's giving them free publicity and they were counting on it.

If they win and the courts decide that placing an i in front of phone is not trademarkable, then they run the risk of losing the ability to protect their own iPhone mark and trying to control the use of i-word marks in the electronics industry

They don't have that right to begin with, since tehre are already plenty of other i-something products, even for the Macintosh. But perhaps they are trying to establish it through their behavior.

On the whole, I find Apple's behavior in regards to iPhone to be cynical, calculating, and arrogant.

Re:they're already winning (2, Informative)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17863646)

I find Apple's behavior in regards to iPhone to be cynical, calculating, and arrogant.

They're a corporation. Cynical, calculating, and arrogant is baked into their genes, lock, stock, and SEC regulations.

On the other hand, Cisco didn't even bother putting an iPhone label on their product WHILE they were in negotiations with Apple. What do you call that?

Re:they're already winning (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17870778)

They're a corporation. Cynical, calculating, and arrogant is baked into their genes, lock, stock, and SEC regulations.

OK, so Apple doesn't "think different", they "think just like Microsoft" if not worse.

On the other hand, Cisco didn't even bother putting an iPhone label on their product WHILE they were in negotiations with Apple. What do you call that?

I'd call it reasonable and in good faith. After all, they had the trademark registered, they were talking about selling the trademark to Apple, why would they start shipping a product under that name?

Re:they're already winning (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17876150)

OK, so Apple doesn't "think different", they "think just like Microsoft" if not worse.

<matrix>Welcome to the real world.</>

I'd call it reasonable and in good faith. After all, they had the trademark registered, they were talking about selling the trademark to Apple, why would they start shipping a product under that name?

And photoshopping their label on products they had previously been shipping without the label is "reasonable and in good faith"?

Re:they're already winning (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17883780)

Welcome to the real world.

Well, I live in the real world--I was making a point to the people who think Apple is the nice, touchy-feely, innovative runner up that's being crushed by evil Microsoft.

And photoshopping their label on products they had previously been shipping without the label is "reasonable and in good faith"?

Cisco was approached by Apple over the iPhone trademark long before Apple made their product announcement. If Cisco had wanted to strengthen their claims, they could simply have started shipping iPhones when the negotiations started. However, they negotiated in good faith and evidently got screwed by Apple. What happened after that was secondary.

Re:they're already winning (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17890592)

However, they negotiated in good faith and evidently got screwed by Apple. What happened after that was secondary.

Responding to bad faith with attempted fraud still doesn't seem "reasonable".

Actually, I think "stupid" is a better term. It won't strengthen their case, it will weaken it.

Marketing Strategy? (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860932)

The only thing I can think of is its some kind of publicity strategy to get the Cisco phones some press.
I never heard of the Cisco iphone until all of this started. I did hear of the Apple iPhone but wasn't aware of Cisco's iPhone.
Cisco was obviously not marketing their phone under the name iPhone so why is the name so important?
I can only guess its more cost effective for them to spend the money on a lawsuit as opposed to marketing.

Re:Marketing Strategy? (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861380)

If you had been shopping for VoIP phones, you would have definately heard of either Cisco or Linksys. Probably both (unless you do all your shopping at Staples, in which case, just Linksys).

Re:Marketing Strategy? (2, Informative)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861476)

I've heard of a Cisco VoIP phone I have one sitting in front of me right now. I just never heard of a Cisco iPhone. For the record I do not do my shopping at Staples I go through Dunder-Mifflin for all of my office supply needs.

Re:Marketing Strategy? (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17863294)

The only thing I can think of is its some kind of publicity strategy to get the Cisco phones some press.

It was entirely Apple's choice to release their product under the name "iPhone", even though they knew that Cisco was claiming the trademark and had been in talks with Cisco about licensing. How can that be "a strategy to get the Cisco phones some press"?

iHave One (3, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17863592)

I have a Cisco phone sitting right here.

Says it right on the faceplate. Cisco IP Phone.

Whoops. Too many letters. Nevermind. :)

Have we collectively gotten to this point? (2, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17860946)

Have we collectively gotten to the point where company branding is actually more important than the item in and of itself? I know that Coca Cola spends something like a billion dollars a year just to keep the name visible...but that's a company, not a product! How do we find ourselves in a society where product name is so important?

Is this the corporate version of the minefield? As if to say, "Don't step on our toes, or we'll go off on you!" Is it necessary that the name of a product be sole ownership of a single product by a single company? Surely we all know which product we are talking about in conversation via the context of use. The corporations aren't afraid that we'll get the products confused, or that a bad review for a product of the same name will keep us from buying their product.

Or is it, more likely, that this is the school-yard bully tactic? Cisco flexing its muscles to intimidate Apple in order to establish self-esteem? Perhaps they have a staff of lawyers and figure that they might as well use them. Then again, I'm sure that Cisco's resources aren't vast enough to just flex its power at will with nothing to gain...

Or perhaps, just perhaps, that's the idea. There is no such thing as negative publicity. I'm now only familiar with the Cisco iPhone due to this litigation! Sounds like free marketing. If you can hold a press release, do it - it's free product advertisement...if you can't do that, sue someone to generate publicity for a product knowing that if it doesn't go to trial, it'll be cheaper than a marketing campaign.

I'm a software development major, not a marketing major - please tell me if there is any validity to my musings, or if I'm just cynical.

Re:Have we collectively gotten to this point? (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861594)

Sadly that's how it has always worked. Bad press is good press, as long as people are talking about you or your product, in good or bad light, you're farther ahead than if they silently ignored you.

Apple is a now household name, everyone including your grandmother knows what an iPod is, at least what it looks like, even down to the crappy little white earbuds that everyone else copied. Capitalizing on that popularity, now we have the iPhone which has the whole world abuzz. Cisco, on the other hand, is a niche company. Even I don't know the full extent of their business endeavours and I've been a techie since software came on ROM chips. Network engineers know Cisco, probably a fair portion of the technician/developer "geek" crowd know Cisco, but Joe Random and Bettie Smith never heard of it. You don't walk into Best Buy and see a big banner saying "Cisco thingawadoodits, half off!" and a retarded sales guy with Cisco bling on his lanyard.

Well now everyone's hearing about this stupid legal miff between the two, so Cisco gets "free" exposure to Apple's mindshare. The fact that Cisco doesn't have anything like the Apple iPhone is the dumbest part, however, since they can't even compete. At least if they were suing Netgear or Aopen, they would potentially steal customers away from their adversary, but there's no such thing as a Cisco cell phone, and there probably never will be after this fiasco is over and Cisco has made a giant ass of itself to the telecomms world.

Re:Have we collectively gotten to this point? (1)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861892)

I know that Coca Cola spends something like a billion dollars a year just to keep the name visible...but that's a company, not a product!

Coca Cola isn't a product? What the hell have I been drinking?

Yes. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17863536)

Have we collectively gotten to the point where company branding is actually more important than the item in and of itself?

Yep.

How do we find ourselves in a society where product name is so important?

That's a real Mickey Mouse question.

Cisco already lost? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17861022)

I thought Cisco already lost by not using the trademark for a 5 year period after purchasing NetGear (who did use the trademark). And isn't there a falsified affidavit - with a false claim of continuing use - submitted by a Cisco representative to the trademark office to extend that unused trademark? And did not Cisco submit a photograph of an already shipping product that did not go by the name iPhone to the trademark office as (false) proof of the trademark being used in commerce? Anyone else seen the picture of that sticker Cisco affixed to the outside shrinkwrap of the back of the non-iPhone product?

Methinks Cisco is delaying because Cisco does not want to lose too quickly.

*rimshot* (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17861032)

Good call. I don't see what the hangup is anyway. Are they finally starting to get dialed in to their customers' needs?

Cisco iPhone name (4, Interesting)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861062)

"Cisco has owned the trademark for the name [iPhone] since 1996 - before Apple even started putting the letter "i" in front of its products - and thus has always had full rights to the name. As for why it took Cisco this long to make use of the name, the only possible explanations could be either it never reached an agreement for the sale of the trademark, or it chose to capitalize on the name now that it's the buzzword of the tech circles". [dailytech.com]

So, Cisco is using iPhone because products starting with "i" are hot, because Apple is selling the iPod. But Cisco is suing Apple because Apple is selling an iPhone.

Apple lawyers immediately trademarked the name "iRony".

Re:Cisco iPhone name (2, Funny)

Nutty_Irishman (729030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862890)

I think the Onion [theonion.com] said it best:

"If they're not careful, [apple will] run into the same trouble with their upcoming computer model, the iBM."

Re:Cisco iPhone name (1)

splict (1024037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17868116)

I don't care how hip the "i" prefix is - there is nothing sexy about bowel movements!

OTOH it is Apple...

Re:Cisco iPhone name (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17867250)

Or maybe because the technology in 1996 was not available to launch a WiFi/VoIP based Internet Phone??

So to sumarise (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17861894)

apple: So, if we go to court, we might lose.
Cisco: Right. But we might lose too and then get no money out of you.
Okay, so if we pay you half the amount we would otherwise pay for our lawyers, then we both win.
Only half? We think you can do better.
Let's announce that the suit is on hold, and go negotiate.
Sounds good, let's set it up for wednesday

-GiH
Just a law student.

so, what product is Apple shipping? (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17862588)

So, Cisco is shipping a product under the iPhone name now. They've also had the trademark for a decade and have shipped products under than name previously. Apple knew that and they were negotiating with Cisco.

What product exactly is Apple shipping under the iPhone name?

Re:so, what product is Apple shipping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17865794)

Agreed, Apple needs to stop using other companies trademarks. On the top of my head I can count Apple, Unix, IPhone. All with lawsuits on them. Why can't they come up with their own names?

Re:so, what product is Apple shipping? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17867444)

Actually, Cisco was shipping a product under a name consistent with their entire product line. Then late in December of 2006, when it became clear there would be a big announcement from Apple at its Expo early the next month, Cisco decided to append a new name to its already-shipping product. Strangely, this new name did not match Cisco's product line naming conventions. Interestingly, Cisco's sudden use of this new name matched the product Apple announced less than a month later: the Apple iPhone. On digging further, it became evident the newly rebadged Cisco product suddenly sporting an iPhone name told a story of its own. The story is that Cisco had failed to use a trademark it acquired by purchasing another company in 2000. This trademark Cisco owned the registration to in 2000 (Cisco did not own it prior) went un-used for over 5 years, in spite of the United States law requiring the trademark be used during that period. Cisco then submitted an application to the trademark office claiming it had used the name, when in fact it had not. Cisco failed to submit this application on time, but only did so during the grace period. Cisco wholly forgot to submit the required pictorial proof of usage and did so out of time. The picture Cisco submitted? An already-shipping product, on the back of the box outside of the shrinkwrap it had a single sticker affixed. Guess what single word this sticker on a product Cisco did not sell as the iPhone at that time contained? Well, I think you can guess.

mod d03n (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17864718)

from within. shithea3s. *BSD Of user base for working on various
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