The networking vendor has accused Apple of "deliberately copying and using Cisco's registered iPhone trademark".
Apple unveiled its device on Tuesday at the Macworld conference in San Francisco. Cisco issued a statement later that day demanding that Apple signed an agreement over the use of the name. Terms and conditions of that agreement were not disclosed.
"Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name," Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel at Cisco, wrote in a blog posting.
Cisco has owned the trademark to the 'iPhone' name since 2000, when it acquired Infogear Technologies which originally registered the name.
The company claims to have been in negotiations with Apple over the use of the iPhone brand for years.
Cisco also stated that it plans to use the name in the future. "Today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone," said Chandler.
"The potential for convergence of the home phone, cellphone, work phone and PC is limitless, which is why it is so important for us to protect our brand."
Chandler stressed that the lawsuit was strictly about the trademark, and does not involve any patents issued for components in either the Linksys or Apple phones.
"This is not a suit against Apple's innovation, their modern design, or their cool phone," he said.
Apple's iPhone is slated for release in the US in June, followed by a European launch in late 2007. Apple did not return requests for comment from vnunet.com.
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