At least part of the delay for the European release of the Iphone, the INQ understands from reliable sources, is down to the fact that there are plenty of firms in Europe who have a very good claim to the Iphone name.
The obvious one is Cisco. The networking company has a patent filed in 1998, which was admitted by the European Union in 1999. Obviously, Apple has an agreement with these folks in the US, but quite whether the much-publicised deal includes European use or not is unclear.
Apple itself filed for a trademark on IPHONE in 2002, but has had the application opposed by other companies with similar marks. Indeed, Spanish firm Catalan De Telecomunicacions Societat Operadora De Xarxes (phew) has its own mark application for Al-Pi Iphone, whilst AudioDescripciones, aso in Spain, has the IPH IPhone. Here in the UK, ICX Europe, a VOIP solutions firm, has also applied for the mark.
In a bid to fight back, Apple has filed no less than five trademark claims in the UK, using both the forms IPHONE and Iphone. One of these is filed under the guise of a shell company, Ocean Telecom, which is also controlled by Apple (the fact they have the same law firm on retainer is something of a giveaway).
Apple's playing it wide, too - forget about the phone, the trademark iPhone is also being sought for "paints, varnishes, lacquers", as well as "bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use", "machines and machine tools", "audio cassette recorders and players", "vehicles" and, obviously, "household or kitchen utensils". Apple quite literally wants the kitchen sink on this one.
Apple here in Europe is anticipating a wave of hassle when it finally gets around to putting out the Iphone here, rumoured to be ready to go in October. We here at the INQ can but hope that justice wins through. µ
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