Cisco Sues Apple over iPhone

Well, I guess Cisco was watching the iPhone announcement yesterday, just like the rest of us. If you didn’t already know, just a few weeks ago Cisco announced a new product called… you guessed it… the iPhone. It’s a VOIP (voice over IP) phone.

Today, Cisco announced they have filed a lawsuit against Apple:

“SAN JOSE, Calif., January 10, 2007 – Cisco® today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Apple, Inc., seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco’s registered iPhone trademark…”

Apparently, Cisco had been in talks with Apple to allow them to use the name, but they hadn’t completed the agreement. Just yesterday they assumed Apple would be agreeing to their terms, as they released this statement:

“SAN JOSE Calif., January 9, 2007 – Given Apple’s numerous requests for permission to use Cisco’s iPhone trademark over the past several years and our extensive discussions with them recently, it is our belief that with their announcement today, Apple intends to agree to the final document and public statement that were distributed to them last night and that addressed a few remaining items. We expect to receive a signed agreement today.”

I guess today, they either didn’t hear back from Apple, or they did hear back, but it wasn’t what they were expecting.

4 thoughts on “Cisco Sues Apple over iPhone”

  1. UPDATE FROM CISCO – Intellectual property is the lifeblood of Silicon Valley and we all have to protect our property. The iPhone trademark is owned by Cisco, as noted in your story. We (Cisco) had hoped to reach an agreement to share our trademark with Apple, yet they decided to use the name without our agreement, so we, unfortunately, are having to go to court to stop them from using the name. This is not about money. We still hope we can reach an agreement, but when your neighbor steals your property, you have no recourse other than to call the cops and file a complaint. Full Cisco statement at:

    You can also read Mark Chandler’s blog entry (he is SVP and General Counsel) to give you a bit of the tick-tock and flavor here:
    He states, in part, “this is not a suit against Apple’s innovation, their modern design, or their cool phone. It is not a suit about money or royalties. This is a suit about trademark infringement.”

  2. Personally I think it’s all about money. Sounds to me like they are trying to use Apple’s success to improve their sales. I’m really not impressed.

  3. I am kind of pissed that they patented “iPhone”. They delibretly took the same lower case “i” and uppercase other letters to follow the Apple like naming scheme. It seemed like it was only done and put out right befor the real “iPhone” to somehow create a still so someone would see Cisco’s offering. I think it’s a shame. So if I was to patent “iMouse”, or “iMacaroni and Cheese”, would I not get sued by Apple into oblivion?

    just a thought…

  4. From what I’ve read, the law seems to actually be on the side of Cisco here. Apparently, the name ‘iPhone’ was originally trademarked in 1996 by a company called Infogear… long before Apple had iAnything. In 2000, Cisco bought Infogear, and along with it the iPhone trademark.

    I hate to say this, but it kind of seems like Apple just said, hey, we want that name, and we don’t care you legitimately owns it. Imagine what Apple would do if someone else came out with a product called, iPod.

    I’m curious to see how this shakes out.

Leave a Comment