Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Steve Jobs can start selling iPhones from June as planned after agreeing to share the name with Cisco Systems Inc. and averting a possible court case.
The Silicon Valley giants ended a six-week dispute on 21 February by agreeing to share the iPhone brand and explore ways through which their products can work together. Cisco sued Apple last month for violating a trademark owned since 2000.
The settlement paves the way for Cupertino, California-based Apple to start marketing the combination music player, mobile phone and messaging device, which was introduced to fanfare last month in San Francisco. Jobs expects to sell 10 million iPhones next year for as much as $599 a piece, taking on Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Palm Inc.’s Treo.
“IPhone is worth a hell of a lot more to Apple than to Cisco”, said John Daniel, a partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York. He isn’t involved in this case. “The ‘I’ prefix is what Apple has been developing and if it didn’t have that, it would be unhappy. I don’t think anybody associates iPhone with Cisco these days”, he added.
Cisco, the world’s largest maker of computer-networking equipment, claimed Apple’s iPhone violated a trademark that Cisco acquired in 2000 with the purchase of Infogear Technology Corp. Apple, which unveiled the device on 9 January, called the suit “silly” because its iPhone differs from Cisco’s Internet-based home phone.