Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Apple announces iPhone; Cisco sues; no one notices that neither owns the domain name

Today Steve Jobs announced in famous fashion the iPhone, a very sleek device that appears to be a very cool cell phone, an OK music player that carries music, though much less than we'd expect, and a pretty good video player.

This thing looks way cool. Without understanding the details fully, I think I want one, and I think several million others will too.

But Jobs didn't announce that he'd reached an agreement with Cisco Systems to license the brand name for "iPhone" or "Iphone" or however you spell it. He didn't announce that for a simple reason -- because he had not reached an agreement in negotiations with Cisco to let Apple use the name they trademarked.

So Jobs just went ahead with his black turtleneck announcement -- and then Cisco proceeded to sue.

Here's the funny part: Apple doesn't own the name iPhone, despite Jobs' announcement. But Cisco Systens, just up the road, registered that mark years ago. Perhaps more importantly, none of the players -- Apple, Cisco, Cisco's subsidiary Linksys -- none own the Internet domain name

Thus years before this dust-up, a ways up the Silicon Valley, another company, albeit a small one -- but we all know that small companies in that valley make big things happen -- registered


The Internet Phone Company, LLC

3856 Willowview Court

Santa Rosa, California 95403

United States

Registered through:, Inc. (

Domain Name: IPHONE.COM

Created on: 24-Aug-95

Expires on: 22-Aug-08

Last Updated on: 16-Jul-06

Administrative Contact:

Kovatch, Michael mike@NET-READY.COM

3856 Willowview Court

Santa Rosa, California 95403

United States

7075260852 Fax -- 7075690880

It was interesting to see the U.S. Apple and the Beatles' U.K. Apple Corps fight each other. It will be interesting to see who owns the Iphone trademark. It will be equally interesting to see to whom the courts award the domain name. No matter what happens, many millions of dollars are at stake.