The highly-publicised dispute between US techno-giants Apple and Cisco over the right to use the word iPhone has reportedly been settled, according to the New York Times. Apple had announced plans to use the name for a multimedia device combining the features of a mobile phone, MP3 player and hand-held email receiver (see earlier IPKat posts here, here and here). Cisco, claiming it had filed for trade mark protection in 2000, responded by launching a Federal suit in San Francisco. Now a communique from the warring parties indicates that they are dropping all legal claims against one another, with the result that Apple can use the name for its new device. Another result of the settlement is that efforts will be made to make their respective iPhone products compatible.
The IPKat is delighted to see peace break out, but wonders whether the word iPhone, which already has substantially descriptive allusions, is in danger of hurtling towards genericisation if two quite different businesses use it on products of different origins. Merpel adds, I'd be careful before rushing to conclude an agreement with Apple: their track record on name settlement disputes includes a monumental "how not to do it" with Apple Corps that dragged on for decades (see here and here).
Left: multifunctional phones are not new - you can iron your shirts with this one, which also makes an excellent paperweight
See also Reuters, Washington Post, Wired, Owen Thomas.
TV format rights, or rather the lack of them, are the cover story for the February 2007 issue of Copyright World, published by Informa. This feature is penned by Taylor Wessing's Colin McCall, who takes the Gower Review to task for its failure to make any positive recommendations concerning the protection of TV programme formats. To be fair to Gowers, the review was just trying to be even-handed - the IPKat notes that there were plenty of other issues on which there were no positive recommendations (eg plant varieties protection, geographical indications, database rights). Other notable features in this issue include
* consideration of Indian copyright protection (very important, given the continuing boom in Bollywood) by Eversheds' Amjad Hussain and Claire Royal; and
* an explanation from Benjamin White (Copyright Compliance and Publisher Licensing Manager with the British Library) of the BL's Archival Sound Project.