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Apple shuts door on Cisco

It has emerged that Apple’s closed door policy is at the root of the company’s fall out with “iPhone” trademark holder Cisco.

Mark Chandler, Cisco’s SVP and general counsel, claims that Apple terminated discussions over the licensing of the trademark when Cisco asked for interoperability between the two companies devices.

Apple has traditionally operated in a closed environment, keeping customers locked into to its own product range. Examples of this are users being forced to use iTunes with the iPod or Mac hardware with OS X. Only recently the company has shown signs of opening up, and only then in the computer market, by introducing Intel processors and allowing the dual booting of Windows.

Chandler claims that Cisco wanted to use the iPhone brand to collaborate with Apple and that is what caused the problems.

“This is not a suit against Apple’s innovation, their modern design, or their cool phone. It is not a suit about money or royalties. This is a suit about trademark infringement,” chandler said.

Cisco has owned the “iPhone” trademark since 2000, when it bought Infogear, which in turn had applied for the “iPhone” trademark in 1996.

“For the last few weeks, we have been in serious discussions with Apple over how the two companies could work together and share the iPhone trademark.So, I was surprised and disappointed when Apple decided to go ahead and announce their new product with our trademarked name without reaching an agreement. It was essentially the equivalent of “we’re too busy”,” said Chandler.

Cisco claims it all went quiet after Apple CEO, Steve Jobs’, introduction of the device at MacWorld on Tuesday.

“Fundamentally we wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future,” said Chandler. “Apple is a very aggressive enforcer of their trademark rights. And that needs to be a two way street”.

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