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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Apple vs. Cisco

John and I spent too much time this morning talking about what actually happened regarding the iPhone mark.  The Cisco PR blog states their part, though we’ll have to wait and see the whole truth when it all comes to light.

Here are a few possibilities in the wild conjecture category:

Big publicity stunt

Under this theory, they have agreed to something already, but want the publicity surrounding a possible dispute.

John favors this one.  I don’t.  Apple doesn’t need this kind of publicity and (I don’t think) would go for it even if Cisco insisted.  I don’t really think either company would behave so disingenuously.

Cisco changed the terms at the last minute

In this scenario, Apple and Cisco work together (in good faith or not) to come to terms, but Cisco overreaches at the last minute.  By this point, Jobs has to make a decision: put off the announcement of the product (as there is on way to change the collateral at such a late date) or run with it and let the chips fall where they may.  If / when Cisco protects their mark with a suit (which of course, they did), Apple makes a case for damage done to Apple by Cisco pulling out at the last minute.

This scenario is not supported by Cisco’s blog.

Apple thinks the trademark doesn’t apply

They try to work with Cisco on this, but ultimately don’t think the mark applies.  So, they decide to go with it.  The only way to resolve such a trademark dispute (without an agreement between the parties) is to use the mark and see what happens next.  Lawsuit?  OK, deal with it in court.

This seems the most likely considering given Apple Spokesman Alan Hely comment: “We think Cisco’s trademark lawsuit is silly” (from here).

I want to say again that this is all wild conjecture.  I am not claiming either Apple or Cisco is at fault here, though it looks like one of them is.

My guess is the next thing we’ll see is Apple Corps suing Apple over their name change (from Apple Computer to Apple).

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