[afnog] iPhone Blues

Bill Woodcock woody at pch.net
Thu Jan 18 22:37:36 UTC 2007

It's an interesting fight...  

  - Apple has been trying to license the brand from Cisco for several 
    years, as well as registering a covert front company in the Caribbean 
    to pursue it from a different angle.

  - Apple is pretty flagrantly using the iPhone name, despite refusing to
    agree to the terms of the licensing agreement which Cisco offered 
    them.  They started quite a while ago, while they were simultaneously
    negotiating with Cisco, and trying to do an end-run around Cisco with
    the front company.

  - Cisco isn't asking for any money in the licensing agreement, 
    apparently, although the agreement itself hasn't been made public, to 
    the best of my knowlege...  They're just saying that they only want to 
    license the brand for use on products which follow open standards and 
    will thus be interoperable with Cisco products.  Which sounds good, if 
    it's true.

  - Apple has apparently entered into a really vicious exclusive agreement
    with Cingular/AT&T, the almost-monopoly phone company in the U.S., 
    which would disable the 802.11 wireless feaure on the phone, and 
    prohibit users from installing any third-party software on the phones.

  - Cisco looks like it missed a minor paperwork filing to renew the 
    trademark a year or so ago, so although they've continued to use the 
    iPhone name, they may actually no longer have exclusive rights to it 
    anyway, if it comes to a court fight.

Now you know one of the reasons why everything's so expensive in the U.S.  
Lawyers everywhere. 


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