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Apple launches iPhone, Cisco lawsuit

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MUMBAI: A day after Steve Jobs introduced the latest must have gizmo from Apple Inc - the iPhone - computer networking giant Cisco has announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court seeking to prevent Apple from infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco's registered iPhone trademark.

With its lawsuit, Cisco is seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco's iPhone trademark, informs an official release.

"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," said Cisco senior vice president and general counsel Mark Chandler. "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission.

"Today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone. 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 concluded.

Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after completing the acquisition of Infogear, which previously owned the mark and sold iPhone products for several years. Infogear's original filing for the trademark dates to 20 March 1996. Linksys, a division of Cisco, has been shipping a new family of iPhone products since early last year. On 18 December Linksys expanded the iPhone family with additional products.

Apple fired back a rejoinder Wednesday claiming that several companies besides Cisco were currently using the iPhone brand name.

“We believe that Cisco’s US trademark is tenuous at best,” Katie Cotton, Apple’s vice president for worldwide communications, has been quoted as saying. “We are the first company to use the iPhone name for a cellphone and we’re confident we will prevail.”

How this case pans out will be closely watched but one certainty is that intellectual property lawyers will be laughing all the way to the bank as a consequence of this particular tussle.

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