I was going to write a post asking the question, “When did Apple get permission to use the name iPhone“, but it looks like they never did. At least not officially.

Cisco sued Apple in federal court today claiming that the iPhone violates it’s trademark. I am going to go out on a limb and say that seeing how Linksys, a company owned by Cisco, released their version of the iPhone just a few weeks ago, Cisco definitely has a leg to stand on.

“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,” said Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice president and general counsel, in a statement. “There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission.”

I am sure that Apple will offer a Cisco an incredibly large sum of money to get this thing settled. Cisco as much as Apple doesn’t want this to drag out for too long. Apple will loose if this goes to trial, however, Cisco, even though they are the victims, will suffer more from a PR standpoint than it is worth. Right or wrong, Apple fans will feel that Cisco should hand the name over and that Cisco is being unreasonable if they fail to do so.

There really is no question that Apple will will in the court of public opinion and the name iPhone will be forever linked with Apple. Cisco can’t effectively use the name after yesterday so they may as well settle this thing, allow Steve Jobs to dump a truck load of $10s and $20s at their door, and cut their losses with the name iPhone.

Apple, iPhone, Cisco, Linksys