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Cisco extends Apple's deadline again in iPhone suit

Posted: 20 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Cisco Systems? Apple? iPhone? Antone Gonsalves?

Cisco Systems has agreed to extend the deadline again for Apple to respond to a lawsuit accusing the computer maker of violating Cisco's iPhone trademark.

In a brief statement released Feb. 15, Cisco the company said it agreed at Apple's request to extend the deadline until Feb. 21. "Cisco is fully committed to using the extra time to reach a mutually beneficial resolution."

The latest extension is the second since the network equipment giant sued the iPod/Mac maker. Cisco filed its suit last month in federal court in Northern California one day after Apple unveiled its combination cellular phone-music player, called the iPhone, at the Macworld conference in San Francisco.

Both companies agreed to the first extension early this month in order to begin negotiations for a possible settlement. The extensions are unlikely to surprise most legal experts. Odds are Cisco and Apple are more likely to settle out of court, then to spend the money to go to trial.

Cisco has owned the iPhone trademark since 2000, when it acquired Infogear. The latter company used the name for its line of Internet-based phones, which are now under Cisco's Linksys division.

According to Cisco, the two companies had been in contact over how they could share the trademark up until the day before Macworld, when Apple suddenly stopped talking. Apple hasn't said much about the suit. A company spokesman, however, did call it "silly," arguing that other companies also use the iPhone name.

Besides reaching an agreement on sharing the trademark, Cisco has expressed interest in reaching a deal on how the products could interoperate. That scenario, however, could be a tough sell, since Apple prefers a closed system with its portable devices, which are tightly integrated with its iTunes software and online store.

- Antone Gonsalves

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