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Originally published Friday, February 2, 2007 at 12:00 AM

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Cisco, Apple decide to talk over iPhone

Silicon Valley neighbors Apple and Cisco Systems are apparently suspending their court battle over the iPhone to return to the negotiations...

The Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Silicon Valley neighbors Apple and Cisco Systems are apparently suspending their court battle over the iPhone to return to the negotiations table.

Although Cisco's lawsuit against Apple remains pending, the two companies have agreed to extend the time Apple has to respond so that the parties can discuss trademark rights and interoperability, the companies said late Wednesday. The aim, they said, is to reach an agreement over the matter.

Cisco has owned the trademark on the name "iPhone" since 2000 and began shipping its own line of iPhone-branded Internet-enabled phones in the spring of 2006.

Then when Apple announced its cellphone-iPod-Internet communications device last month and called it "iPhone," negotiations between the tech companies ended with a loud thud. Cisco sued Apple the following day claiming trademark infringement.

During a recent conference call with analysts, Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook called the Cisco lawsuit "silly" and said Cisco's trademark registration was "tenuous at best."

Under federal law, two companies may share a trademark as long as their uses aren't confusingly similar. Apple has battled another Apple over trademark before: Apple Corps, the Beatles' recording company, had sued the computer company over its entry into the music business. Now there are rumors that a Super Bowl advertisement will introduce the first legal digital downloads of Beatles music through Apple's iTunes.

Despite the more recent legal skirmish, Cisco is pushing ahead with its own Linksys iPhone. It took out a full page ad in Thursday's edition of The New York Times to promote the product and included the small "R" for registered trademark next to the name.

The ad, touting "iPhone: More than talk!" featured two women sitting back to back on a grassy field, one using a phone and the other a laptop — an Apple laptop.

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