Three weeks ago, Linksys introduced a Skype VoIP handset dubbed the iPhone. Press and bloggers alike assumed that Apple would simply end up launching its own phone under a different name, but Tuesday's highly-publicized announcement proved otherwise.
Steve Jobs may think the communications industry is governed by some form of quantum mechanics where two similar products can share the same name, but Linksys' parent company Cisco has a different view. The company has filed a lawsuit against Apple on the grounds that the iPod maker is violating its trademark. Apple is in a bit of a pickle, too, because Cisco has owned the iPhone trademark since 2000. The two companies did try to work out a deal, but negotiations apparently failed:
"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," said Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission."Cisco is seeking an injunction to stop Apple from using the iPhone name altogether. The network equipment maker says it must protect its trademark because "today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone" and "the potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless."
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