CEO Says Cisco Suit Only Seeks Interoperability With Apple’s “iPhone”

The International Herald Tribune’s Victoria Shannon reports that in an interview with the newspaper, Cisco CEO John Chambers called his company’s lawsuit against Apple, Inc over Apple’s use of the name iPhone a “minor skirmish” that could have been avoided had Apple agreed to interoperability with Cisco products.

“We told Apple for five years, ‘This is our trademark. We’ll license it to you, but it is ours,'” the Herald Tribune quotes Chambers as saying. “All we ask is that people respect our trademarks and our intellectual property. We would have traded that for just interoperability.”

In the article, Shannon describes “interoperability” as “the ability of the Apple phone to work smoothly with Cisco products.”

Apple CEO announced the company’s $500 “iPhone during the MacWorld conference in San Francisco earlier this month. Cisco claims to have owned the “iPhone” trademark since 2000.

According to the story, Chambers told Shannon that there’s precedent for Cisco allowing others to use its trademarked names. Chambers said that Cisco freely relinquished rights to the name to the name Netscape in the 1990s when James Barksdale and James Clark, Netscape’s founders, called up and asked to buy the name, which Cisco had trademarked but was not actively using.