Cisco bites Apple

Cisco Systems is suing Apple over the name of Apple's new product, the iPhone.

Cisco filed suit Jan. 10 in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, saying Apple's use of the name violates the company’s trademark. The legal action came one day after Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs publicly introduced the device at the Macworld show to near-unanimous laudatory reviews.

Cisco said it has owned the trademark since 2000. Apple called the suit silly, and said that because the two products are different, they should both be allowed to use the iPhone name. Apple’s product is a cell phone and Cisco’s is an Internet-based information and entertainment manager.

The Apple iPhone combines a mobile phone, widescreen iPod with touch controls and an Internet communications device into a lightweight handheld device that provides desktop-class e-mail, Web browsing, maps and searching.

Cisco said in a statement that it filed the suit after five years of talks to share the iPhone name had broken off. The manufacturer of networking and telecommunications products said Apple then opted to introduce the iPhone without legal right to its name.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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