How Apple could fight Cisco

by admin January 12, 2007 at 9:54 am

A cell phone is to an Internet phone as an airplane is to a faucet?

That analogy isn’t likely to appear on the SATs next year. But that’s precisely the question at the heart of the legal dispute over whether Apple will be allowed to use the iPhone name–currently trademarked by Cisco–for the new device unveiled at Macworld. Cisco sued Apple on Wednesday, claiming the iPhone violates a trademark Cisco acquired in 2000 and uses for a line of Internet phones.

There are a few avenues that Apple can pursue in defending itself against Cisco’s lawsuit. However, no matter what the company does, it is treading uphill because Cisco has a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to lawyers interviewed Thursday. “As a federal trademark holder, there are certain presumptions,” said Grace Han Stanton, a trademark lawyer with Perkins Coie in Seattle.

Apple also apparently recognized the value of Cisco’s trademark, as it started negotiating with Cisco for the rights to use the iPhone brand as early as 2001 and was involved in negotiations as late as Monday night, according to Cisco. Apple has declined to comment on its negotiations with Cisco.

Full article: ZDNet News