Apple sued over use of iPhone trademark

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Apple ignored another company's trademark by using the name "iPhone" to describe the much-hyped new iPod-cum-mobile phone it launched this week. It now faces an expensive legal battle against Cisco Systems, the telecoms technology company, which launched legal proceedings for trademark infringement against Apple last night.

Cisco has owned a trademark on the iPhone name since 2000, and last month it launched a range of voice-over-internet telephone handsets under the iPhone brand.

Cisco had presented Apple with the terms of a potential licensing deal on the eve of the Macworld convention in San Francisco, where Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs launched the phone on Tuesday, but its overtures were rejected.

Mark Chandler, Cisco's lead lawyer, said: "There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission."

Apple argues that because its device is a mobile phone, rather than a landline, it is not infringing Cisco's trademark.