Apple, Cisco settle iPhone dispute

Cisco Systems and Apple have settled a dispute over rights to use the iPhone name. Under terms of the agreement, both companies have the right to use the name.

In addition, Cisco and Apple have agreed to “explore opportunities for interoperability” in security and communications technologies for consumers and business users, they said in a brief statement. Other terms of the agreement, which heads off a lawsuit filed by Cisco over rights to the iPhone trademark, were not disclosed.

Cisco last month sued Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for infringing its iPhone trademark with the announcement of a cellular handset that bears the same name. At that time, Cisco said it obtained rights to the iPhone name through its 2000 acquisition of Infogear, which had a product line called iPhone.

In addition, Cisco’s Linksys division last year began selling a line of dual-mode cordless phones, called iPhone, that let users make VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls.

Cisco’s lawsuit against Apple came shortly after CEO Steve Jobs last month announced the company’s own iPhone cellular handset at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. That announcement was made without an agreement with Cisco to use the iPhone name, a company spokesman said at the time.

Prior to Jobs’ iPhone announcement, Apple and Cisco had discussed terms of an agreement for Apple to use the name. Those discussions continued after the iPhone announcement and the filing of the lawsuit, ultimately resulting in the settlement.

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