Report: Cisco CEO calls iPhone suit 'minor skirmish'

Apple had been difficult to do business with, says John Chambers in a newspaper interview.

Cisco Systems' lawsuit against Apple over the use of the name iPhone is a "minor skirmish" that could have been avoided if Apple had been willing to negotiate, the International Herald Tribune reported on Thursday.

"We told Apple for five years, 'This is our trademark. We'll license it to you, but it is ours,'" Chambers said in an interview carried on The New York Times' Web site.

John Chambers John Chambers

"All we ask is that people respect our trademarks and our intellectual property," he told the paper. "We would have traded that for just interoperability," or the ability of the Apple phone to work smoothly with Cisco products.

Cisco owns the iPhone trademark and sued Apple after it announced that its cell phone-iPod product would be called the iPhone as well.

Apple had been difficult to do business with, Chambers also said, according to the International Herald Tribune.

Representatives for Apple and Cisco were not immediately available for comment.

On a separate topic, Chambers said Cisco's most likely competitors in the future would come out of Asia, especially China, according to the International Herald Tribune.

He also said Cisco was looking to Asia for technology skills and acquisition targets, the paper reported.

Chambers was in Paris to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora while on his way to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, the paper said.

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