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Cisco Lost Rights to iPhone Trademark Last Year? 162

An anonymous reader writes "An investigation into the ongoing trademark dispute between Cisco and Apple over the name "iPhone" appears to show that Cisco does not own the mark as claimed in their recent lawsuit. This is based on publicly available information from the US Patent and Trademark office, as well as public reviews of Cisco products over the past year. The trademark was apparently abandoned in late 2005/early 2006 because Cisco was not using it."
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Cisco Lost Rights to iPhone Trademark Last Year?

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  • by Skater ( 41976 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @11:24AM (#17591068) Homepage Journal
    Or, better yet, of Universal's lawsuits over the game "Donkey Kong" when it first came out - I saw someone mention it on /. the other day. If you're not familiar with the story, it's a pretty good read [wikipedia.org]. Briefly, Universal sued on the grounds that Donkey Kong was a rip off of King Kong, and lost in part because they'd argued in another recent case that King Kong was a public domain character.
  • by dclozier ( 1002772 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @11:30AM (#17591140)
  • by CheeseburgerBrown ( 553703 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @11:33AM (#17591168) Homepage Journal
    The existence of the iTimeMachine. Doc Brown's gonna shit.

    This is yet another flagrant incursion into history and unforgivable mussing of the timeline by Steve Jobs, a monster whose rampage will never end until our hard-working scientists develop a weapon that can pierce his infamous Reality Distortion Field. Myself, I suggest realigning the Bussard collectors to emit anti-neutrinos.

  • USPTO website (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaveM753 ( 844913 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @11:52AM (#17591374)
    I did a trademark search on uspto.gov, and it appeared to me that Cisco's iPhone trademark is listed as "LIVE", not "DEAD". IANAL, 'tis true. But we are talking about a ZDNet story, so I'm auto-skeptical.
  • Re:Old News (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:16PM (#17591632) Homepage Journal
    RTFA, a front company for Apple is next in line.

    If Apple can prove in federal court that the Declaration of Use contained misstatements of fact, i.e. that there was no continuous use, then Cisco's registration can be canceled. This could clear the way for the next company in line for the iPhone trademark, Ocean Telecom Services LLC (widely regarded as a front company for Apple). It could also explain why Apple decided not to sign the agreement Cisco proposed.
  • by nblender ( 741424 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:22PM (#17591712)
    I RTFA and thought the commentary looked familiar: http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=216560&c id=17578608 [slashdot.org]
  • Maybe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by KidSock ( 150684 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:23PM (#17591732)
    Maybe this is why apple didn't come out with an iPhone before. They were waiting to see if they would let the trademark lapse.
  • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:33PM (#17591838)
    Not at all. If TFA is right, this has nothing to do with 'little details'. The big details are that Cisco had no product called 'iPhone' for years, and recently just stuck a sticker on a picture of an existing product, rebranding it 'iPhone', when renewing the trademark, when no such branding existed in the real world.

    I believe that you and TFA are right, Cisco has not used the trademark in marketing their VOIP web/phone system. I'm looking at the box from one (ca. 2002) right now, and it is branded "Cisco IP Phone". Nowhere in the box, on the product or in the manual was it referred to as an "iPhone", "IPhone", "I Phone" or "I-Phone".

    For that matter, I've seen the instruments placed on TV shows (e.g. "West Wing") and never seen any "iPhone" branding you would expect for a product placement on TV. Looks like they registered it and blew it off.

  • by Fahrvergnuugen ( 700293 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:39PM (#17591912) Homepage

    In the words of bugs bunny: How now brown cow?

    The fickle commentaries crack me up. First it was WTF was Apple thinking? Then it was Cisco is in the right, Apple is wrong / evil / brazen. How stupid could they be. They're gonna have to rename it to @Phone. Blah blah blah.

    Did anyone honestly think Apple would name their product the iPhone, full well knowing that Cisco had the trademark unless they were completely confident that it was both A) worth the legal headache and B) that they have a very good case and therefor chance of triumphing in this dispute?

  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday January 13, 2007 @01:39PM (#17592622) Homepage
    Indeed, it appears less as though Cisco accidently let a valuable trademark lapse, and more like Cisco is attempting to hold onto a trademark they've never used and have no intention of using, for the sole purpose of using it as leverage against Apple. No one has any brand association with the name "iPhone" to any product other than the Apple iPhone anyway.
  • Re:I dunno... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TomHandy ( 578620 ) <tomhandyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday January 13, 2007 @02:06PM (#17592970)
    Hey, don't get me wrong, I like my Treo 650 too; and mostly for the third party stuff, like Salling Clicker (which I also use to control ZoomPlayer and iTunes remotely on my PC). But the OS has been stagnating for years, and the UI of a lot of the apps are kind of clunky. For a lot of what I do ultimately use my Treo for, it is kind of a pain in the ass. I.e. web browsing; Blazer just stinks, and I've practically given up on even bothering to use real websites with it, instead using WAP versions of sites when I can. From what I've seen of the iPhone demonstrations, Apple has really moved things forward interface wise.

    I certainly do hope to see the iPhone become a better platform for third party apps eventually, but even with nothing else, I can see ditching my Treo when it comes out. And I'm hoping that the few third party apps I do use on the Treo do make their way to the iPhone, one way or the other..... would love to have Salling Clicker on it, for example.

    Actually, the other big thing I use my Treo for is as a host for TomTom navigator, but I could probably see giving that up to and just getting a physical TomTom device instead.

  • by nhz ( 992573 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @02:16PM (#17593092)
    Disclaimer - I'm definitely not an Apple fanboy. I just wanted to find first-hand whatever I could about this situation.
    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.cisco.com [archive.org]
    has a nice listing of previous cisco home pages. I browsed through this quite a bit, and it looked like they were using the term "communicator" extensively. I didn't see iPhone on any of these historical pages. I'm inclined to think they just might have made "iPhone" a new, featured product in the last 72 hours.
    Interestingly, I did find iphone by VocalTec in 1996, see:
    http://web.archive.org/web/19961225003516/www.voca ltec.com/iphone.htm [archive.org]
    but since VocalTec is an Israeli telecom equipment provider, and IANAL, I don't know what to make of this. My only thought is that probably their iPhone is no longer being actively used, and I don't know if it was even a trademarked name.
  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) <nacturation@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 13, 2007 @03:11PM (#17593766) Journal
    Here's the direct link to the iPhone on Amazon [amazon.com] image:

          http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-images/by-author /A675KDVLCPUZV [amazon.com]

    This is a customer uploaded image uploaded by one "Ben Boyle" on December 18, 2006. The main product image has no such iPhone shown:

          http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000JI5L02 [amazon.com]
  • IANAL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Suriken ( 922504 ) on Saturday January 13, 2007 @03:34PM (#17594066)
    IANAL but... someone wrote on slashdot (and I'm trying to find it) who was a lawyer concerning this exact case. The facts I remember were that yes Cisco missed out on the trademark re-registration (or whatever it's called) last year, but those who do are given a 6 month grace period past that point in which to submit their application. Cisco did this approximately 2 months later (2 months into the 6 month period)
    Some other thing as well about the use of the trademark where Cisco submitted box art for an upcoming product (possible fraudulent?)
    I'm not too on-to-it with the facts. Still trying to find the source comment...
    EUREKA! [slashdot.org] I've got it. Thanks jmbehmke1 for all the info!

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