January 11, 2007 4:25 PM PST

Why can't Apple, Cisco just play nice?

Apple's brash move to launch the iPhone without permission to use Cisco Systems' trademarked name was a major snub to the networking giant.

Cisco had hoped to strike an interoperability deal with Apple. The company's general counsel, Mark Chandler, said in an interview Wednesday after Cisco filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Apple that the companies had been close to finalizing a deal the night before Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco to announce the long-awaited iPod cell phone called the "iPhone."

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But after "intense" discussions ended at 8 p.m. on Monday night, Cisco hasn't heard from Apple, he said.

One of the conditions of the deal was that Cisco wanted to work with Apple to ensure interoperability among the companies' product lines, Chandler said. While specific details of the negotiations haven't been made public, a Cisco representative indicated Thursday that the interoperability clause rejected by Apple would have encompassed a range of products from Cisco and Apple.

"In general, we were asking for the two companies to work together to make our products and technologies more interoperable with each other," said John Noh, a spokesman for Cisco. "In this case, interoperability was an important consideration because, as we've said, we see the potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone, and the PC as limitless, and we see the network as the foundation for innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services consumers want."

Apple declined to comment.

Over the past several years, Cisco has become a leader in the voice over IP market. It first sold this technology to large companies. And now, through its home networking division, Linksys, it's taking VoIP into the home. Specifically, Cisco/Linksys has partnered with companies such as Skype and Yahoo to integrate consumer VoIP services with wireless and cordless phones.

"Apple likes to keep control of the environment in which their products operate, so that nothing takes away from the value of the products."
--Tim Bajarin, Creative Strategies analyst

It's these products that Cisco has labeled "iPhones." The company has been showing off some of the products at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. For example, the WIP320 Wireless G phone, which looks like a candy-bar style cell phone, accesses the Internet via any standard 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connection. Calls can be made using a Skype VoIP client.

Meanwhile, Apple's "iPhone" will use Cingular Wireless' cellular network to make and receive calls. The phone comes equipped with Wi-Fi, but Apple has made it clear that this feature is designed to allow users to download data and other multimedia onto their phones at broadband speeds when they are in a Wi-Fi hot spot, said Tim Bajarin, a principal analyst with Creative Strategies, who covers Apple closely.

Apple has not indicated that the Wi-Fi connection could be used to launch voice over IP calls, he added. In fact, Bajarin said that consumer VoIP clients such as Skype can't be downloaded onto Apple's iPhone.

"Apple has made it very clear that the iPhone is not a VoIP phone," Bajarin said. "The company wants to make it very clear that this is a cell phone; not a VoIP phone."

That said, it's unclear whether or not Apple would add this capability at a later time. And perhaps, close interoperability ties with Cisco could jeopardize or limit future plans to integrate with other companies' technology or with technology that Apple may develop itself, he speculated.

CONTINUED: Makings of a powerful team?…
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58 comments

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Two good companies...
...but I agree, it wouldn't make a great partnership. Apple, a gadget and toy company, seems a bit self absorbed and (from experience) doesn't seem to have the same commitment or level of customer service or support that Cisco has with its products. Cisco, on the other hand, is a serious networking company, about to explode into all sorts of media and entertainment disciplines, and probably sees Apple as a small but potentially useful ally in these efforts, if not for more than the "hip" name association.

Since Cisco has had the TM for years and beat Apple to market with product, this looks like either a hugely arrogant or very sloppy mis-step by Apple. But my bet is the tiff will end quickly and quietly and little will become of any serious collaboration.
Posted by munkiebiz (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
NO WONDER
"In general, we were asking for the two companies to work together
to make our products and technologies more interoperable with
each other," said John Noh, a spokesman for Cisco.

Cisco wants to have a say in Apple products?! Get a clue, John.

I'm sure Apple wanted the name and NOTHING ELSE. They're not
looking for help from your MCSE dorks and those clowns that wrote
IOS.
Posted by tedk7 (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And we're back to Microsoft bashing....
what do MCSEs have to do with this story? Did you mean CCNA? CCIE?

This is one problem even the most rabid Apple fan can't blame on Microsoft (unless you're delusional, of course).

-Mister Winky
Posted by Mister Winky (301 comments )
Link Flag
clue really needed
I am not a Cisco fan, an dcertainly not an MCSE, but IOS and the hardware it runs on provide more value to the world, the music industry, the phone industry and teh internet in general than YATP ( yet another toy phone ) ever will. That iTunes download, that cingular call will all go through more Cisco hardware than you will ever conceive of. What Apple product has contributed that much to the world?
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
How's that taste, Apple?
For a company that agressively andd mercilessly goes after any
and all possible transgressions of IP, Apple is certainly getting a
taste of it's own medicine.

While I can't fault companies for defeinding their trademarks and
IP, it's fitting to see Apple get such a public comeuppance
against such an important announcement.

On the other hand, it sounds like Cisco wanted to be included in
the iPhone's featureset and Apple just wanted the name. This
could be a play to force Apple's hand.

Don't you wish you could read stuff this insightful on C|Net? I
guess that's why they have comments - so people will finish
their stories for them.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I don't see the big deal.
Why can't they both use the iPhone name? When I hear
iAnything, I think of Apple. How can a name like iPhone help
Cisco? I, the average consumer, know nothing about Cisco's
products. Apple has used the "i" in it's products since 1997's
introduction of the iMac. Apple's used the "i" in many of it's
products, making the "i" prefix a common Apple theme. Any
time I see any products with an "i" prefix that are not made by
Apple, I think, "What a rip-off." I truly feel Cisco just wants the
publicity of putting up a fight against Apple. Everyone tries to
make a buck off of Apple, just like good old Microsoft. I even
say a miniature fan, complete with iPod look, called "iFan". What
the hell?
Posted by mhersh (78 comments )
Link Flag
You are smart. You should be a tech writer.
I am amazed at your brilliance and insightfulness.

Wow. Really. I mean it.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah, why won't Cisco just let Apple trample their rights?
Yeah, what's wrong with Cisco? I mean, don't they know that Steve Jobs is GOD and that his needs and his ego trump any business objectives little old Cisco might have?

WHY WON'T CISCO JUST LET APPLE USE THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY FOR FREE?!?! The bastards! ;)

-Mister Winky
Posted by Mister Winky (301 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cisco could help Apple's SIP iPhone integration
This is what we need -- SIP on the iPhone... Cisco could help...
Posted by libertyforall1776 (650 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Intellectual Property?
I'm sure there was an offer for money. Cisco wanted to put their
fingers into Apple's intellectual property, to help set the designs
of the product.

And while they have had that trademark for many years, it went
unused until Apple was almost ready to announce, when
everyone and his brother knew Apple was coming out with a
phone and the name everyone and his brother used for it was
the iPhone. And if they hadn't used the name iPhone on it,
nobody would have noticed.

Cisco may have the legal upper hand (though the fact that there
are eight registered trademarks of iPhone and their disuse of the
trademark may come into play). But the purpose of trademarks
is to keep someone from trading on someone else's good name,
thinking that his product was actually from some well known
and respected organization. If there's any trading on someone
else's good name going on her, Cisco did it when they called
their Skype phones "iPhone".
Posted by GadgetDon (760 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's An Interesting Take ...
That's an interesting take on trademark law. Following that line of thinking, if a company registers a trademark, but delays using it while another covets it, then all the second company needs to do to negate the trademark is have a bunch of fanboys start saying that's the obvious name for the second company's product, a product that is pure rumor and speculation because of the second company's ruthless enforcement of corporate secrets. The actual trademark owner is defenseless. Interesting, as I said.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Apple and SIP ahhh
Apple never put SIP on their phone, and will never let 3rd party software run on their phone.

Apple will fit the small market that want to live the Apple life...
Posted by rifkiamil (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cisco sold more 12 million more IP Phones than Apple
Cisco sold more 12 million more IP Phones than Apple, Cisco sold more IP Phone then anybody eles... Cisco IP Phone is in movies and tv shows around the world... not becuase they run IP.. but due to then being sexy..

Check out the 7971 Cisco phone,,, its been out since 2003 and will run with SIP.

I think Steve Job pissed off that Cisco with IP, killed AppleTalk.
Posted by rifkiamil (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
...
don't see what the big deal is. apple should do its own thing while cisco does its own thing. plenty of room for both of them.


<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ashgilpin.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.ashgilpin.com</a>
Posted by ashgilpincom (30 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Only if Apple plays fairly
You're correct -- Apple and Cisco *can* settle this amicably, but Apple has to complete the negotiation process in good faith.

Right now, Apple is thumbing its collective nose at Cisco. Cisco has the legal right and, more importantly, the fiduciary duty (doing business on behalf of its shareholders) to maximize the value of their well-established intellectual property.

-Mister Winky
Posted by Mister Winky (301 comments )
Link Flag
next, Apple makes a robot and steals iRobot's name
But Apple can go after people for using "pod" in their names. Hypocrites.
Posted by casual observer (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iCall
iCall. It simple.

Any use of this pending trademark will be met with a stern talking
from my mommy!
Posted by jrzshor (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
iFone.
I remeber thinking Cisco's use of the name iPhone was really
cheeky. You could tell they were trying to set up some future
leverage, while just plain stealing a marketing strategy that is
instantly recognaizable as branded by Apple. It was cheap then, its
only cheaper now. Cisco's marketing dpt. should start looking for
some original ideas, but oh yeah, their Cisco. What was I
thinking?!!!
Posted by sternla (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Cell
I like the sound of iCell
Posted by jmanico (55 comments )
Link Flag
The letter "i"
Whate the hell, just because Apple came out with a couple of products whose names start with a "i", that does not give them the exclusive right to use that vowel in front of any product ever built from then on. Apple produced an eMac too, do we want to grant them the exclusive right to use the "e" letter too? I might want to know that, I don't wanna be charged for unvolountarily using the word email.
In the end, all this is just pretentious, bcuz in all these "iProducts" the internet stands for "Internet", not for "I'm an Apple fanboy".
Posted by cxar71 (13 comments )
Link Flag
Go Cisco
I'm not usually a big Cisco fan, but in this case, GO CISCO!!!
Apple does not want to play fair and loves proprietary technology with no interoperability. They won't even come to the table with others, so finally they aren't getting there own way, and it's about time.
Posted by weebnuts (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ooooh! You're so right!
"Apple does not want to play fair and loves proprietary
technology with no interoperability."

Yes, it's so whack-a-doo that Apple uses TCP/IP!! And what
about SMB? Those nut cases at Apple, what with wanting to
connect to Windows networks!

They even build computers you can install Windows on - without
extra steps. Those incompatible goofs!

Oooh. those proprietary weirdos at Apple, with their Intel
motherboards and ethernet and USB and DVI and nutso
connectors that no one uses. They're so nonstandard!

(You look like an idiot, weebnuts.)
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Link Flag
What's in a name?
Sure, ipod is super-famous and so is iMac. But with overdoze of the "i"s, I don't even think it's worth fighting for. Couldn't Apple think of any better name? Cisco is not less greedy either; *** interoperability for using trademark name? What are they smoking?
Posted by sec24 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Thanks!
I bask in the glow of your compliments.

If I ever move back to the Bay Area from my SE Louisiana hellhole, I
may just do that.
Posted by Hep Cat (440 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"Apple iPhone"
As observed in this article, the full name of the device is "Apple
iPhone" (shown with the Apple logo and iPhone in many instances,
just as with the Apple TV. It will be interesting to see if the court
decides whether there is even an issue here.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/iphonegate-iphones-" target="_newWindow">http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/cellphones/iphonegate-iphones-</a>
real-name-is-apple-iphone-apple-in-the-clear-228263.php
Posted by Ronin_1 (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Go Cisco, go Cisco!
Go Cisco!
Posted by pentium4forever (192 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ponytails and pom-poms - that's all you got?
Let's raise your game a bit here so you can graduate.

It seems to be a typical game of chicken. Apple has a deadline and they are about to make an public announcement on a project they have spent millions on. Cisco knows that so they throw in the interoperability angle hoping to put Apple in the vice-grips. Apple is only asking for use of the name - Cisco wants them to pony up more money to use their technology as well.

I predict Cisco losing because of prior art - "iPhone" is used in two other products already on the market and Cisco didn't go after them. So why go after Apple? Also, the prior art fact will cause Cisco to lose their rights over the name. Just because it hasn't been contested before doesn't mean that it can not be contested now with a win.
Posted by sunergeos (111 comments )
Link Flag
iWar
I think Apple wants to pick a fight just for publicity's sake. Cisco is
right to demand a cut of the deal. Can you imagine if some
company came with another device called iPod? Apple would be
after it like a pack of wolves.

I wouldn't mind a deal that benefits the consumer. Cisco's VOiP in
an Apple iPhone? Sweet!
Posted by PostNoComments (116 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is simply bad faith on Cisco's part
Apple has been negotiating for this trademark since 2001. Everybody knew that "iPhone" was the obvious name for the Apple phone. And Cisco rushes a product to market just a month before Apple's iPhone launch? This whole thing stinks.
Posted by mh20932 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Um...
This trademark was registered LONG before Apple has 'i' anything. Just because they did not come to any agreement why should Cisco be forced to abandon it's trademark just because Apple decided they want to steal it?

Where is the logic?
Posted by DHNet (2 comments )
Link Flag
Apple's (Job's) Arrogance Strikes Again
The World According To Jobs:

What Steve Jobs wants, Steve Jobs gets. End of discussion.

Silly things like laws shouldn't get in the way.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple Fanboys and Haterboys
My first post!

I'll admit to being a very happy, contented Apple fanboy -- both
as a consumer and as a shareholder.

I am quite puzzled as to why so many of you are such unhappy,
malcontented Apple haterboys! What gives? Sold the stock too
early? Stuck with non-Apple products in your life?

Another thing I am puzzled by: Since you haterboys don't like
the company or its products too much, why do you even bother
to post about Apple?
Posted by kathakalimask (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I would guess...
I would go so far as to speculate that your "Apple haterboys" post against your beloved company for the same reason you took up arms against them.

People are, for better or worse, incapable of remaining silent.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Apple is a bully.
Apple is a bully. They expect to infringe on others but they aren't the least bit reasonable when it comes to other companies.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple is a bully.
Apple is a bully. They expect to infringe on others but they aren't the least bit reasonable when it comes to other companies.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cisco, Not Apple, is in the Wrong
If you told anyone on planet earth in recent months that an
"iPhone" has hit the market, 99 out of 100 would have assumed
that it was an Apple product. Apple has done an amazing job of
creating buzz around the "i" moniker. iPod, iTunes, iMovie,
iDVD, etc. Apple has done such a great job that everyone was
anticipating an iPhone from Apple.

Now along comes Cisco. They knew full well that if they chose to
call a product the iPhone, it would fly in the face of Apple. It's
like saying "f--- you" Apple, we're going to steal all your hard
earned buzz and screw you. We're going to use the system
against you.

The purpose of the trademark system is to avoid confusion in
the minds of the public and give rightful ownership to those
companies who have earned the public's attention for their
moniker. Cisco consciously chose to misuse that system.

What amazes me today is how uncreative our corporate cultures
have become and how bullying and deception are used to move
into areas we should never go. We see it on the world stage with
politics. Almost everywhere we see an extreme lack of creativity
in government, foreign policy, energy policy, education,
economics, and most other areas of human endeavor.

Apple and a few other companies come along with incredible
ideas and execution. Apple even tells how to do it. "Think
Different." I'm shocked that Cisco was so uncreative that it
couldn't even find another letter of the alphabet to use for their
product. They chose to try to steal Apple's thunder by stealing
Apple's buzz.

What that tells me is that the culture at Cisco is extremely short
sighted and uncreative. It tells me that they probably don't make
products that I would want to buy. I'd rather go with companies
who rely on true innovation and creativity to create their own
buzz and great products, rather than a company that tries to
misuse the system to steal from others.

I hope the Trademark office can see through this stupidity of
Cisco's. I hope they can see how they are being used to defeat
the intended purpose of tradmarks, which is to give companies
their rightful due in creating monikers that people associate with
their brand.

I applaud Apple's response to this travesty on the part of Cisco. I
hope other companies will look at how Apple has succeeded in
creating a corporate culture based on "good ole American
ingenuity and innovation" rather than on deception, bullying,
and misuse of the legal system, etc. to try to armtwist their way
into the hearts and minds of Americans.

I say to companies in general. Play fair. Play nice. Do the honest
thing. I hope Cisco's corporate management catches hell for
trying to stomp on Apple. Why can't companies create true
innovation and earn the public's respect like Apple, Intel, and
others have done. Be truly creative rather than use underhanded
tactics.
Posted by LetsThink (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Wrong-headed Thinking
LetsThink's dissertation is so full of wrong-headed thinking I'm not certain even where to begin.

1. There are many iProducts out there that don't belong to Apple Computer (I'm specifying them, since I wouldn't want the reader to confuse them with Apple Corporation, a company that has issues with Apple Computer over the use of the word "apple" in conjunction with a certain music delivery service. Bottom Line: Apple Computer has a history of playing loose and fancy with prior TM registrations).

2. The purpose of trademark law has nothing to do with "earn[ing] the public's attention". It has everything to do with registering the TM. That's U.S. law. Businesses/individuals that use a TM without registering it are at the whim of those who register it. That's the history of actual, real-world lawsuits in the U.S.

3. Apple Computer did not have a huge line of iProducts when the iPhone TM was originally registered (2000). This predates most of their iProduct line and, as I said earlier, occurred at a time when many companies were offering iProducts of their own (as many companies continue to do today).

4. If Cisco was shortsighted I don't think they'd be pressing so hard for interoperability with Apple Computer's product line. The fact that they want to interoperate suggests that they believe there is a future for that product line. In fact, if they refused such an offer from Apple Computer, fanboys would probably voice loudly how shortsighted Cisco was for that.

5. The Trademark Office won't have much say about this lawsuit. This will be settled in the courts, or by mutual agreement between the two companies.

6. The underhanded tactic here was Apple Computer walking away from the talks the day before they announced the allegedly trademark infringing name to the world. Cisco is defending their product's name, which TM law requires that they do (lest they lose the trademark). Let me say that again: If Cisco does NOT defend the name iPhone, they will lose it. That is U.S. TM law.

--mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Apple realizes ultimately the TM isn't important
How many articles do think there were when Cisco released their iPhone? A few, more than usual because of the buzz surrounding Apple potentially releasing an iPhone. Now, how many when Apple released their iPhone? A Time magazine article plus many many more. Even if Apple loses the TM, which they might simply because Cisco got there first. The iPhone name is cemented in with Apple not Cisco in the public's mind. So even if Apple is forced to rename their iPhoen to (apple)phone like the new (apple)tv or some other name. You can bet that when people walk into an Appls Store or stop at a Cingular kiosk that people will be asking "Hey, do you have any of those iPhones or whatever its called now?"
From what I could tell, the actual iPhone doesn't that Steve Jobs introduced and didn't have the iPhone name engraved on it like on iPods. It appears to just have the Apple symbol. Which indicates to me that Apple knew they weren't confident it would ultimately be dubbed the iPhone.
Posted by 13ryan886 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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