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Did Cisco lose its right to iPhone trademark last year?

Ed Burnette over at ZDNet asks a question we haven't seen anywhere else. Has Cisco already lost its right to the iPhone trademark? Several specialists in trademark law describe how Cisco's trademark was registered back in '99 and may not have been properly renewed or used within the 6 years (plus 6 month grace period) span allowed.

Expert Jay Behmke writes "If Cisco didn't launch a product using the iPhone name, their trademark registration would be canceled and they would have no bargaining chips with Apple. So in order to keep the trademark active, they had to file the Declaration of Use, and start selling a product under that trademark...It is possible that the Declaration of Use is defective, as there was no continuous use, and the sample that Cisco submitted was for a product not released until 7 months later."

Read the whole thing to see where these experts are coming from. It's still a matter best left to lawyers to figure out, but the article points up some very interesting background about the issue. In the end, at least in our opinion, Cisco's case may fail because Ivan in package design was vacationing in Nassau that week... Sticking the iPhone sticker onto a pre-existing box? In the words of our own Mike Rose, "that's not even half-assed, it's more like like one-eighth-assed."

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