At first it would seem simple…Cisco had the name iPhone trademarked…for a LONG time…so it’s there trademark, right?
Wait…that’s just too simple.
No, trademark law doesn’t work that way…and according to some experts, Cisco lost the rights to the iPhone trademark last year.
From the article:
The Cisco iPhone trademark was registered 11/16/1999 (Reg. No. 2293011). In order to keep a trademark registration active, you have to file a Declaration of Use on or before the sixth anniversary of the registration date, in which you state, under penalty of perjury, that you have been using the trademark continuously during that period. The sixth anniversary would have been 11/16/2005.
Cisco did not file the Declaration of Use by 11/16/2005, which if they had been using the trademark would seemingly have been easy to do. However, the USPTO gives you an extra six months grace period, if you pay an extra fee. This grace period would have expired 5/16/2006. Cisco filed a Declaration of Use on 5/4/2006 which kept their registration active. Had they not filed, their registration would have been canceled.
This ZDnet article goes on to explain that a photo of the product must also be included with this filing, and shows a picture of the one Cisco filed. It’s just one of their phones with “iPhone” stuck on the side of the box with a sticker. Yeah…that’s a real solid defense.
You can read the full article here.
Now, this kinda makes me sad. I don’t care for the name iPhone, and I really was kind of hoping that Apple would drop it…but if this article is right, Cisco barely has a leg to stand on in this case.