Cisco could be on brink of losing iPhone name in Europe

“Cisco could be on the brink of losing the rights to the iPhone trade mark in Europe, according to trade mark experts. Apple could end up with European rights to iPhone, in contrast to reports around the world suggesting that Cisco’s rights were absolute,” OUT-LAW.COM reports.

OUT-LAW.COM reports, “Cisco this week sued Apple over its use of the iPhone name for its new mobile telephone. Cisco holds US and European trade marks in the name and negotiations over a licensing deal between the companies had broken down, Cisco said.”

“Trade mark specialist Lee Curtis of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, has found a legal loophole, though, which could strip Cisco of its European rights. He told technology law podcast OUT-LAW Radio that in Europe a person can lodge a revocation application against a trade mark registration if the trade mark has not been used for the past five years,” OUT-LAW.COM reports. “Just such a revocation was lodged by a German law firm, CMS, on exactly the same day, 18th December 2006, on which Cisco launched the iPhone.”

“OUT-LAW can find no use in Europe of the iPhone trade mark in the five years preceding that revocation application, which means Cisco’s ownership of the trade mark is under threat in Europe. Though there are references in US media to Linksys products dating from 2005 using the iPhone name, this is unlikely to count as use in Europe unless there were sales into the EU or Linksys, a subsidiary of Cisco, undertook advertising and promotional activity in the EU,” OUT-LAW.COM reports. “If CMS filed its revocation application before Cisco launched its product, meaning earlier that day, then Cisco will lose the trade mark rights.”

OUT-LAW.COM reports, “Apple has the oldest application for the mark so would almost certainly then own the trade mark in Europe.”

Full article here.

[Attribution: The Register. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Gandalf” for the heads up.]

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Experts: Cisco lost rights to ‘iPhone’ trademark last year – January 12, 2007
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Analysts: Cisco ‘iPhone’ trademark suit likely to have little impact on Apple, to be quickly settled – January 12, 2007
iPhone more than a trademark for Apple CEO Steve Jobs – January 11, 2007
Jim Cramer: Why Cisco really sued Apple – January 11, 2007
Cisco General Counsel explains ‘iPhone’ lawsuit; Cicso wanted interoperability with Apple iPhone – January 11, 2007
Apple calls Cisco’s ‘iPhone’ trademark lawsuit ‘silly,’ says ‘very confident we’ll prevail’ – January 11, 2007
Cisco sues Apple for ‘iPhone’ trademark infringement – January 10, 2007
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Briefly: Apple changes corporate name; Cisco expects agreement on ‘iPhone’ trademark today – January 09, 2007
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  1. Very interesting. Cisco is on the edge on this one even though we all thought it was open and shut in favor of Cisco. But even with Europe gone from the iPhone trademark, Apple has yet to file anywhere for it. Sales of iPhones would give Apple some standing. Simply announcing it may or may not. Applying for approvals… Lots of interesting gyrations going on in the background on this one. Trademark stuff can be messy. And it is certainly shaping up to be that way here.

    The more I do hear about Cisco’s requests for interoperabilty or some such thing (esp after introducing their new product), the easier it is to understand why Apple may not have gone for it.


  2. Over the past 2-3 years there have been dozens (hundreds?) of articles online and in print media with speculation about “Apple’s iPhone” with no reference to Cisco or Linksys. If neither Cisco nor Linsys went after any of these authors or publishers to do a retraction/clarification then Apple may be able to state that Cisco/Linksys had already given up any claim to the trademark and that it is just a generic term.

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