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Cisco Sues Apple Over iPhone Name

Cisco, which recently introduced its own Wi-Fi phone with the iPhone brand, says it's owned the trademark since 2000.

Cisco on Wednesday said it sued Apple for infringing on Cisco's iPhone trademark, which the network equipment company claims to have owned since 2000.

Cisco filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, and is asking the court to stop Apple from using the name for its new phone, which was unveiled Tuesday at the Macworld conference in San Francisco.

Cisco claimed in a statement that it obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 in the acquisition of Infogear, which previously owned the trademark and sold iPhone products for several years. Infogear's original filing for the name dates to March 20, 1996, Cisco said. Cisco's Linksys division has been shipping iPhone products since early last year, and expanded the product line on Dec. 18, with a line of VoIP phones.

Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel of Cisco, said in a statement that the company had been negotiating with Apple "in good faith" after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use the name. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission," he said.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

Cisco wants to protect its trademark because the iPhone brand fits well with the direction of the mobile phone industry. "The potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless, which is why it is so important for us to protect our brand," Chandler said.

Cisco is asking the court to order Apple to stop copying Cisco's trademark.

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