Lawsuit seeks relief to prevent the firm from using and copying trademark Cisco Systems, the world's largest networking equipment supplier, has issued a lawsuit against consumer electronics maker Apple over the use of the iPhone brand. The lawsuit, filed yesterday, sought an injunctive relief to prevent Apple from infringing on and deliberately copying and using Cisco's registered iPhone trademark. That action came a day after Apple co-founder and chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the company's much-anticipated iPhone mobile device - which combines a widescreen iPod music player with touch controls, quad-band GSM connection, camera and internet communications with desktop-class e-mail, web browsing, searching and digital maps access - at the Macworld trade show in San Francisco. 'There is no doubt that Apple's new phone is very exciting but they should not be using our trademark without our permission,' said Mark Chandler, senior vice-president and general counsel at Cisco. Cisco obtained the iPhone trademark in 2000 after completing the US$301 million acquisition of privately held InfoGear Technology Corp, a supplier of internet appliances and software. InfoGear's original filing for the trademark dates to 1996. It sold iPhone-brand products for several years. Early last year, Linksys - the consumer communications and networking unit of Cisco - re-launched the iPhone brand with its new family of wireless products. Cisco acquired privately held Linksys in 2003 for about US$500 million. On December 18, Linksys expanded its range of voice-over-internet protocol solutions with handheld devices that run Yahoo and Skype online communications services. 'Today's iPhone is not tomorrow's iPhone. 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,' Mr Chandler said. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris called Cisco's lawsuit 'silly', according to a news report. 'We believe that Cisco's United States' trademark registration is tenuous at best,' she said. 'Apple's the first company to use the iPhone name for a cellphone. And if Cisco wants to challenge us on it, we're very confident we will prevail.' In May last year, Apple won a legal battle in London's High Court against the Beatles. Apple was sued by the Beatles, owner of the Apple Corp record label, over the US firm's iTunes music service. They claimed Apple breached an agreement that prevented two Apple enterprises competing in the music industry. Cisco apparently took umbrage at Apple's iPhone launch while the two had pending discussions over the use of the brand. The company said it expected to sign an agreement on the day Apple's iPhone was launched. With Apple's announcement, Cisco believed Apple intended to agree to the final document and public statement that were distributed to them that addressed a few remaining items. 'Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco's iPhone name,' Mr Chandler said. A Cisco spokeswoman said: 'Our action is not about money but to protect the trademark in the face of Apple's wilful violation of it.' Despite Mr Jobs' optimism over Apple's iPhone sales starting this June in the US and next year in Asia, many analysts expected slow movement because of the device's price - at the high end of the smartphone market segment - and the lack of high-speed, third-generation cellular connection. According to a report from Thomas Weisel Partners equity research, sales of Apple's iPhone will reach 3.1 million units next year. UBS Investment Research said Apple's iPhone would represent 2 to 3 per cent of worldwide mobile handset revenue next year.