Many people wondered how Apple managed to gain the rights to use the name iPhone from Cisco Systems who have trademarked the name. Apparently Apple doesn’t actually own the rights to the name iPhone, but they went ahead with their huge launch regardless. The real owners of the name, Cisco Systems, are suing Apple for making free use of a name they have already trademarked. This could spell a large amount of trouble for Steve Jobs and the Apple clan if this suite is won by Cisco. Jobs has stated that he believes that Cisco won’t be able to uphold their claim “because other products have already been released with that name. ” It’s almost a case of; well, everyone else is doing this so why can’t we?
There may very well be other products out there labelled iPhone, but Apple has made the biggest splash with theirs. They shouldn’t be surprised that they are targeted by Cisco. What surprised me is that Apple went ahead with the unveiling while the name was still unsecured. Why put an entire marketing campaign at risk because you can’t set up the groundwork properly? That’s bad enough, but for it to be justified by a childish response like they used is inexcusable for such a huge corporation. The revelation may also show Apple and the iPhone in a bad light to many consumers, but whether that makes a difference to sales is yet to be seen.
Did the guys at Apple really expect to get away with it after the huge amount of publicity they drummed up by such a public unveiling of the product? Particularly since the Linksys division of Cisco Systems recently released their own iPhone product. The products may be widely divergent, but only one of them will get the universal brand recognition that comes with the name. Regardless of the fact that one is a VOIP product and the other is the new every function phone. The people who gain the benefit from the recognition should be the people who legitimately have the right to use that name.
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