A tale of two trademarks, the iPhone saga

As we reported yesterday, Apple fanatics groaned collectively as Linksys unveiled their iPhone lineup of wVoIP phones. It came as a shock to many that Linksys' parent company Cisco had acquired the trademark for iPhone in the U.S. when they acquired Infogear in 2000. Infogear had filed for the trademark in 1996 when they launched a PC-based Internet Phone service--as they were once called. Interestingly, their trademark applies to such a service and not for a mobile phone, but since 1996 VoIP has transcended the PC and is now making some headway on the mobile platform.

In 2002 Apple began applying for trademarks for "iPhone" as it relates to a music-enabled mobile phone. The company began with Singapore in 2002, then in the E.U., Australia and finally Canada in 2004. In August of 2006 Apple filed for the trademark in New Zealand. On September 25th of this year, a company called Ocean Telecom Services files for a trademark on iPhone in the U.S. using the same language and description of a music-enabled phone as previous Apple iPhone filings elsewhere. Ocean subsequently files in Hong Kong and the U.K. using the same language. While most of the trademarks are pending (like the one in the U.S.) everyone's asking the question: Is this the end of the Apple iPhone?

For more on the iPhone rumors:
- see this time-line