iPhone name disputed by Cisco

Cisco Systems's general counsel has stated online that the company is suing Apple over the name "iPhone". Sounds reasonable, as we all know that Cisco's iPhone has been shipping (most recently) for the past 9 months or so (after an hiatus in the previous five years or so). But, is this the whole story?

Of course not, why would the GC from Cisco mention that although they have had the assigned trademark (number 75076573) is in the following classes:

  • IC 009: (basically any physical electronic device)
  • US 021: Housewares and glass
  • US 023: Cordage and fibers
  • US 026: Fancy goods
  • US 036: Insurance and financial services
  • US 038: Telecommunications services

and with a description of: "computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks".

Not to pick nits here, but that's not a cellular phone, and the iPhone certainly is. So, the question isn't as simple as "we've been using it".

So, is it dilutive is the next question? Hard to say, but there's an iPhone.com URL that is for the Internet Phone company and their products all begin with iPhone, and appear to have done so since 1995 or at least 2003, which is during the time that Cisco was not using it and apparently not enforcing it.

We'll see what happens with this, but Apple's been known to fight these things tooth and nail.