Apple, Cisco extend talks on iPhone deal

Apple and Cisco Systems have pushed back a deadline in their legal battle over the iPhone in order to keep working toward a settlement.

Cisco sued Apple last month in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California over its use of the iPhone name, which Cisco uses for some of its own products. The companies have now agreed to give Apple more time to respond to Cisco’s suit so the two parties can keep talking in hopes of reaching an agreement on trademark use and interoperability, they said in a brief joint statement Thursday.

Cisco’s Linksys consumer products division sells VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phones under the iPhone name, which the company said it acquired in its purchase of Infogear in 2000. Apple introduced its iPhone to great fanfare at the Macworld Expo conference last month, and Cisco later said the companies had been negotiating use of the name before the show but never reached a deal.

According to published reports, Cisco would have been willing to license the iPhone name in exchange for Apple making the handset interoperate smoothly with Cisco’s products. Linksys is the biggest seller of consumer Wi-Fi access points and is expanding its home product line into the voice and entertainment realms. Apple’s iPhone is equipped with Wi-Fi and includes audio, photo and video player software.

Cisco has faced troubles of its own over the iPhone. The company was accused of not properly sharing open source code with its Linux-based iPhone. Cisco later admitted to the violation and said that it’s working on license compliance.

Neither Apple nor Cisco could immediately be reached for comment.

Peter Cohen contributed information used in this report.

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