01 Mar

The Brilliant Trick Steve Jobs Used to Win the iPhone Trademark

The iPhone trademark was held by Cisco. How Steve Jobs managed to take it away from Cisco’s hand?

At the time, Apple was a smaller company than Cisco, so Giancarlo knew that he had the upper hand in the negotiation. However, Steve Jobs had his reality distortion field. He called Giancarlo multiple times about getting the iPhone trademark. Giancarlo kept saying he wasn’t interested. Jobs kept persisting, often calling multiple times in a day.

He was fighting a war of attrition.

At one point he even called at 6:00 PM on Valentine’s Day and mentioned the famous line "Do you have email at home?" to try and get under Giancarlo’s skin.

He would mention how Cisco had technically already lost the right to the trademark because Cisco wasn’t using it. Giancarlo kept blowing him off, saying how he wasn’t interested in licensing it. As the launch date approached, Steve kept persisting, increasing how frequently he called. Eventually he said that Apple would go ahead with the launch, fight Cisco in court, etc.

After Apple launched the iPhone, Cisco filed a lawsuit, and this time the two sides’ lawyers and executives were forced to negotiate. The final deal terms were said to be that Apple would use Cisco’s equipment to update its networking in exchange for using the iPhone trademark.

This was a brilliant negotiation tactic because Apple would have used Cisco’s equipment when upgrading its networking infrastructure anyways. It was already using Cisco’s equipment. Maybe Jobs could have also threatened to switch to Juniper Networks instead, but it would have been a lose-lose situation. This made Giancarlo think that he was getting something substantial out of the deal when in reality Jobs pretty much got the iPhone trademark for free.

The Brilliant Trick Steve Jobs Used to Win the iPhone Trademark


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