The iPhone Trademark: A case for internet intelligence

So Apple introduced the iPhone with much hype this past week. You could not escape from reading, hearing and seeing news reports about the iPhone, which surely will become apart of our vocabulary. It is a cool name for a phone however; there is a tiny problem. Apple might not have the right to use the name.

Cisco Systems has filed a lawsuit against Apple regarding the trademark of the name. Cisco believes that it owns the trademark since 2000 and has not granted permission to Apple to use the name. On the other hand, Apple claims that it has asked for the right to the trademark however; Cisco did not reply to the request. Furthermore, Cisco states that Apple created a front company to apply and receive the trademark under another name.

Interesting case we have here with two questions that could be answered with evidence taken from the internet.

1 – Cisco Systems claim for the iPhone trademark name – What is their description for “iPhone”?
2 – Did Apple really create a front with the purpose of getting the trademark for Cisco?

To address the first question, a simple search of the United States Trademark Electronic System (TESS) should be executed. Using the keyword, “iPhone”, the system presents 9 results in which trademarks with serial numbers 7507652 and 77007808 are relevant to our investigation.

Trademark 7507652 is described as “computer hardware and software for providing integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks” with the last listed owner being Cisco Technology Inc. Initially, Cisco obtained the trademark through the acquisition of Infogear Technology.

Trademark 77007808 is described as “handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; MP3 and other digital format audio players; handheld computers, personal digital assistants…” This trademark was registered by Ocean Telecom Services LLC. According to rumours, Ocean Telecom Services LLC is the name that Apple is using for their front company for obtaining the trademark.

To deal with the second issue, we can only attempt to dig for company information regarding Ocean Telecom Services any any links to Apple. A simple Google search provides us with little information and prompts a search of government sources for the state of Delware, where the telecom company is based.