There is no doubt that Monday’s iPhone announcement from Linksys has put a damper on the forthcoming release of the Apple iPhone. New reports from aMobileMe and ZDNet provide hope that Apple could quite possibly still use the iPhone name.

Visual Evidence

The image of an advertising board depicting what many thought to be another iPhone concept could indeed be the actual iPhone. If this is an actual concept from a prospective ad agency, it appears the Apple cellphone would be called the iPhone. A further look at the concept revealed the words, Setup not: This board should.. Clearly, this appears to be an advertising “board”. The tagline, “Many abilities, No buttons. Introducting iPhone” is very Apple-esque lending further to evidence this could be the real deal.

Apple iPhone

What About Cisco’s Patent?

Russel Shaw of ZDNet has done some research of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and it appears there is more to the story. There are four live trademark assignments for the term “iphone” or derivative term. One of these is owned by Cisco, while the other three are being contested.

  • Teledex, U.S. Trademark 78581563 refers to a “Telephone that integrates a display and interactive abilities with an IP-based network to deliver both voice communication and graphic-based content and services to hotel guestrooms.
  • Ocean Telecom Services, U.S. Trademark 75076573 refers to “handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail and other digital data, MP3 and other digital format audio players; handheld computers, personal digital assistants, electronic organizers, electronic notepads, magnetic data carriers, telephones, mobile phones….
  • XTreme Mobile, U.S. Trademark 78590673 refers to “Apparatus for transmission of communications, voice over internet protocol communications, wireless internet connectivity and other media, internet phones, mobile phones, cellular phones, telephone calling cards.

Both Teledex and Xtreme Mobile have received an initial refusal and Ocean Telecom has yet to receive a “formal inspection”.

Apple Registration of iPhone

It’s widely known that Apple has been seeking patents for the term iPhone in other countries. With the news of the Linksys iPhone, most journalists immediately debunked the thought of Apple using the term iPhone for their upcoming cellphone. For a moment, let’s look at the history of the term iPhone. While Apple has not announced the product even exists, they are well aware of the fanfare and hype surrounding the iPhone. People have blogged and waxed poetic about Apple releasing a phone, long dubbed the iPhone. That in mind, isn’t curious that Apple has failed to file a patent for the term iPhone, yet they did remember to lock up the domain (which redirects to Apple’s homepage). I certainly do not claim to be a trademark lawyer, but I cannot imagine someone in Cupertino not suggesting Apple file a trademark patent for the term ‘iPhone’.

If Not iPhone, Then What?

That is the million dollar question. Apple could use an extension of their existing product lines, going with MacPhone or iPod Phone. Those are lackluster and it’s possible the iPhone will take on a completely new name. Have a suggestion for the name of the new iPhone? Let us know by adding your comments and take the poll on our homepage.

Thanks ZDNet and aMobileMe