Another iPost about the iPhone

I have been wondering why exactly Apple went ahead without an agreement with Cisco Systems and used the iPhone name for their new smart phone. They have been talking to Cisco about the name since 2001, so you know they have a plan with or without Cisco’s agreement. Could it be, they want Cisco to agree after they have already decided to use the name, as some sort of macho thing so everybody can see that Cisco gave in? I doubt it, but you never know, Steve Jobs has never cared who he took on in his past battles, so maybe he needs another notch for his belt. More likely it has to do with he fact that Cisco never REALLY tried to protect their copyright, since there are at least two other devices using the name and a couple more patent requests for it, if I am reading correctly. And, as they said in the keynote, they are the first company to use the iPhone name for an actual cell phone, Cisco’s is for a line of internet phones, and as one of the reasons for trademarks is to prevent consumer confusion, most probably would not be confused by both companies having an iPhone product, since they are certainly different.

Another tactic is what News.com called the McDefense strategy, where they have a family of trademarks, such as everything beginning with an i, iPhone, iPod, iMac, iTV, etc, etc. Which could explain some of the lawsuits they threatened recently to some iPod accessory makers.

Apple can also argue that it owns a “family” of trademarks related to the iPhone, said Craig Mende, a lawyer with trademark and copyright firm Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu in New York. For example, the iPod, iTunes, iMac, iWork and iLife products all bear a strong association with Apple, so the company could argue that consumers would naturally associate the iPhone with Apple.

The most famous example of this strategy is used by McDonalds, which has successfully argued that any other company that attached “Mc” to their product, like a McPhone, is creating consumer confusion that the McPhone is a McDonald’s product. Even though you really shouldn’t eat a phone, consumers would automatically associate McDonald’s with anything using the “Mc” prefix, Mende said. Source: How Apple could fight Cisco

But, even in that case, just adding an “i” to something is not enough to give it a family grouping, and others are doing the same thing, Sony uses a technology called iLink, there is an iBoat Store, the Soundcast iCast and the Klipsch iGroove, to name a few. Plus, Cisco really hadn’t used the name until last year, when it actually changed the names of the Linksys CIT200 and the Linksys CIT310 to iPhones, and, personally, I don’t recall seeing an iPhone in the available options when we were installing a Cisco VOIP network last year. I will have to check and see if we still have the catalog, or maybe it was a PDF, that we used to look at the available phones.

There are many different ways Apple could get to use the iPhone, and, all of the buzz from his keynote will certainly help. Look at how much coverage they got from announcing the iPhone, you would think Jobs just turned water into wine, but such is the reaction to most Apple fanatics, not that it is bad, I wish I liked a company as well as people like Apple, but I don’t. If you ask the average person on the street who makes the iPhone they will say Apple more than likely, and if you ask who owns the trademark tot he iPhone? People like me and people who read my blog and other blogs will know who owns the trademark, but most people will say Apple does, more than likely, and if you tell them Cisco is making some iPhone products? They will probably think Cisco is infringing on Apple or that they are making “clone” iPhones, or knockoffs. Who will the likely winner be? Apple more than likely.

Added: Just saw this post, about how a company, Ocean Telecom Services, could possibly be a shell company who applied for a trademark, that sounds a LOT like the iPhone. The company also applied for the same patent in Australia as well.

C 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; MP3 and other digital format audio players; handheld computers, personal digital assistants, electronic organizers, electronic notepads; magnetic data carriers; telephones, mobile phones, computer gaming machines, videophones, cameras; prerecorded computer programs for personal information management, database management software, electronic mail and messaging software, paging software, database synchronization software, computer programs for accessing, browsing and searching online databases, computer software and firmware, namely operating system programs, data synchronization programs, and application development tool programs for personal and handheld computers; electronic handheld units for the wireless receipt and/or transmission of data that enable the user to keep track of or manage personal information; software for the redirection of messages, Internet e-mail, and/or other data to one or more electronic handheld devices from a data store on or associated with a personal computer or a server; and software for the synchronization of data between a remote station or device and a fixed or remote station or device; computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks

C 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: hand-held unit for playing electronic games Source: Apple vs. Cisco over iPhone