Cisco Systems filed suit against Apple today, claiming that the company is using the iPhone name without permission. The suit comes after an apparent licensing deal fell through this week following years of negotiations over the iPhone trademark, which Cisco has owned since 2000.
“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,” Mark Chandler, Cisco’s senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement. “There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without permission.”
As of yesterday, Cisco said it was confident Apple would agree to its latest terms, noting that it was expecting to receive a signed agreement from Apple. Cisco said the paperwork never arrived, and today filed a lawsuit, asking a U.S. district judge for Northern California to order Apple not to use the iPhone name during this week’s Macworld Expo.
Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman, dismissed Cisco’s suit. “We think Cisco’s trademark lawsuit is silly,” she said. Several companies already use the name “iPhone” for Voice-over-Internet products, Kerris said. “Apple is the first company to ever use the ‘iPhone’ name for a cell phone. We believe that Cisco’s trademark registration is tenuous at best. If Cisco wants to challenge us on it, we are very confident we would prevail.”