I know we've all weighed in with our opinions re: the Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO)/Apple Computer Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone dispute. You know I only work with the best, so I went straight to Harvard Law, where they gave me the skinny as to what constitutes trademark infringement. Key points discussed are:
- The standard is "likelihood of confusion."
- Is it likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source of those goods or as to the sponsorship or approval of such goods?
- Factors under consideration will be:
- (1) the strength of the mark
- (2) the proximity of the goods
- (3) the similarity of the marks
- (4) evidence of actual confusion
- (5) the similarity of marketing channels used
- (6) the degree of caution exercised by the typical purchaser
- (7) the defendant's intent
Apple knows all about trademark law; one of the most famous cases in trademark history is Apple Computers vs. Apple Records, an issue that resurfaced as Apple moved into the music business. The bottom line is they already have all the best lawyers on the planet on speed-dial, so don't go writing off the name iPhone too quickly!
It's too late anyway -- they've already rolled out the first iPhone commercial!
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