Cisco Sues Apple Over 'iPhone' Name

Cisco Systems filed a lawsuit against Apple Wednesday alleging that the computer maker’s new mobile phone, iPhone, violates a Cisco-owned trademark on the name.

Cisco’s trademark-infringement suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, seeks an injunction that would prevent Apple from using the iPhone name.

Cisco said it acquired the trademark for the iPhone name when it bought a company called InfoGear Technology in 2000. In December, Cisco’s Linksys home-networking-products division launched several iPhone voice-over-Internet-protocol products.

An Apple representative could not immediately be reached for comment. But The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple spokesman Steve Dowling called the Cisco lawsuit "silly" and told the newspaper: "We're the first company to ever use the iPhone name for a cell phone. If Cisco wants to challenge us on it, we're very confident we'll prevail."

On Tuesday, after Apple’s announcement, Cisco released a statement saying that it assumed Apple would abide by terms of a final agreement Cisco sent Apple regarding the trademarked name. With the lawsuit, it’s obvious that no agreement was reached. Cisco said Apple has made “numerous requests for permission to use Cisco’s iPhone trademark over the past several years.”

The iPhone -- announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the Macworld convention in San Francisco -- uses touch-screen technology to let users surf the Internet and play digital content, including music and video from iTunes. It will only work on Cingular Wireless’ network, it will start shipping in June and it will cost $499 for a 4-gigabyte version and $599 for an 8-GB model.