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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Ay-yi-yie over Apple's iPhone


Increasingly, where there lies technology there lies a dispute, whether the claim is real or imagined. Apple's recent announcement that it will begin selling its long anticipated iPhone appears to be no different. Details here.

In a nut shell, Cisco Systems is claiming that it owns the trademark rights to the term "iPhone," which it acquried back in 2000 when it bought Infogear Technology (Who?). The USPTO trademark registry clearly shows CISCO owning a registered mark in the term "iPhone," so there is certainly some merit to Cisco's claim. Further troubling for Apple is that the mark was registered more than 5 years ago, and therefore, is barred from a petition for cancellation under U.S. trademark rules. However, as I see it the real "meat and potatoes" of this case is going to come down to Cisco's actual use. That is, despite Cisco's registration of the mark can they demonstrate actual prior use. Read Cisco's PR position here. Read their legal position (which is not nearly as apologetic) here.

Let the depositions begin ...

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