iPhone trademarks: the real issues

The Apple of my 'i'

According to Cisco's lawsuit, Apple set up a Delaware Corporation called "Ocean Telecom" in September of 2006 to apply for a trademark in the iPhone mark, and Ocean Telecom also claims to have used the iPhone mark starting in March of 2006 in Trinidad and Tobago. Apple also applied for the iPhone trademark in Australia in September of 2006.

Now in Apple's corner. It already own trademarks to the iEverything line, and most people already associate the prefix with them – possibly preempting the field (hmmm...should I register iLawyer?) It may argue that iPhone is descriptive or generic – although that argument is weakened by its efforts to protect its own iPod franchise.

The ultimate issue will come down to this: is there a substantial likelihood that people looking for the Cisco product – or a product with capabilities like the Cisco product – would be confused by the Apple entry into the market?

To answer the question, I will personally need to examine in detail the capabilities of the various products, their look, their feel, their interface. Are you listening Mr Jobs? Just email me for the address to mail my iPhone – or whatever you want to call it.

This article originally appeared in Security Focus.

Copyright © 2007, SecurityFocus

SecurityFocus columnist Mark D Rasch, JD, is a former head of the Justice Department's computer crime unit, and now serves as a lawyer specialising in computer crime, computer security, and privacy matters in Bethesda, Maryland.

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