iUhOh ™

Discussion over Apple’s new iPhone has reached fever pitch, especially around the office and among my MBA friends. At $499/$599 this is another pricey tech toy, and I’m not sure we’ve seen the last of the bad news.

Cisco sues Apple over iPhone name

Cisco Systems is suing Apple to prevent it from using the name iPhone for the new smartphone Apple introduced Tuesday at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

Cisco filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court for Northern California seeking an injunction against Apple using the name.

The name iPhone is a registered trademark of Linksys, a division of Cisco. Linksys picked up the iPhone name when it bought a company called Infogear Technology Corp. in 2000. Cisco’s iPhones are telephone handsets designed for use on a VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) network.

The iPhone has proved to be the most talked-about product at this year’s Expo, and its positive reception has sent Apple’s stock surging over the past two days. The company’s stock closed at $97 Wednesday, up nearly 5 percent for the day.

Apple and Cisco have been in negotiations for about two years over Apple’s desire to license the iPhone trademark, said Cisco spokesman John Noh. When Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone Tuesday at Expo, Cisco had not yet received a signed trademark licensing agreement from Apple, even though the two companies had been negotiating terms as recently as Monday night.

“Because they have been negotiating with us on licensing the trademark all this time, Apple is acknowledging that we own the name,” said Noh.

“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,’ said Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel for Cisco.

’Today’s iPhone is not tomorrow’s iPhone. The potential for convergence of the home phone, cell phone, work phone and PC is limitless, which is why it is so important for us to protect our brand,” Chandler said.

Edited to add: Apparently someone else isn’t amused either.

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