Cisco Systems sued Apple Inc. in federal court Wednesday, saying the computer maker’s new iPhone violates its trademark.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco federal court, came just a day after Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPhone in dramatic fashion at a trade show in San Francisco.
But even while Jobs was trumpeting the product during his keynote address to Apple faithful, the matter of the product’s naming had not been resolved behind the scenes between two of the biggest names in Silicon Valley.
San Jose-based Cisco, the world’s largest network-equipment maker, has owned the trademark on the name “iPhone” since 2000, when it acquired InfoGear Technology Corp., which originally registered the name.
And in the spring of last year, Cisco’s Linksys division put the trademark to use and began shipping an Internet phone called “iPhone” that uses the increasingly popular Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. The product was officially launched three weeks ago.
Cisco said Apple had approached the company a number of times over the past few years about a licensing agreement to use the name, and that the talks heated up in the past few weeks.
However, Cisco said communication between the companies ceased Monday, and even while Jobs was holding court at the Macworld Conference and Expo, Apple lawyers had not signed and returned the final contract.
It was at that conference that Jobs introduced Apple’s own iPhone, a “game-changing” touch-screen-controlled cell phone device that plays music, surfs the Web and delivers voicemail and e-mail. The product still needs FCC approval.
Cisco filed the lawsuit Wednesday seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco’s iPhone trademark.