Go figure. Unlike G. Matthew Lombard I did see fit to address this story, however little, before; and now, unlike me, Matthew’s giving it some serious attention. His post is worth reading. From a straightforward trademark law point of view, check this:
An Apple spokeswoman has reportedly said, “There are already several companies using the iPhone name for VoIP products. We’re the first company ever to use iPhone for a cell phone. If Cisco wants to challenge us on it, we’re confident we’ll prevail.” I know this is the public spin that Apple must put on the situation at this stage of the game, but, really, to suggest that VoIP phones and cell phones are unrelated products is just…well…untenable. Try selling that argument to Verizon or AT&T.
Apple’s confidence is also discredited by the allegations that Apple has been trying to secure rights to iPhone from Cisco since 2001. Moreover, over the years, Apple has reportedly continued to make requests for the rights, including several attempts in 2006. Cisco has consistenly refused. This doesn’t bode well for the argument that there would exist no confusion.