An iPhony Controversy

Please don't sue me for posting this picture! In what seems like just seconds after the announcement of Apple’s iPhone and its pretty icon-filled UI, clones of that UI have already appeared as skins for devices which — unlike the iPhone — have the advantage of actually currently existing.

Skins appeared for Windows Mobile devices and the Palm Treo, and one of the skins is called the “iPhony,” about which, ha! Apple, of course, has no stomach for jokes — even good ones like “iPhony,” hee! — and has wasted no time sending out cease-and-desist letters..

Am I the only person who enjoys the irony of Apple instigating legal action over people instacloning the look of a product when it currently doesn’t even own the name of that particular product?? After all, Cisco could come out with their iPhone tomorrow, you never know!

Apparently, this doesn’t stop Apple from referring to it as the “iPhone” in the actual letters. Which makes me wonder: since Cisco is already suing Apple over the iPhone name, couldn’t they conceivably send cease-and-desists to Apple asking that Apple cease-and-desist calling it the “iPhone” in their cease-and-desists to the makers of obviously fake skins like the “iPhony?”

One also wonders if perhaps Apple is overreacting. After all the purposes of these skins is not to rip off Apple’s revolutionary UI (and, BTW, how revolutionary could it be if they’re worried about someone actually duplicating it within a week of seeing it?), but rather to give posuers something to impress their friends and co-workers with for a couple of seconds. Up until the moment said friends and co-workers realize that it’s not an actual iPhone and go back to treating that person with the same derision that caused them to download that skin to impress them in the the first place.

In any event, this would be a small distraction on the road to the iPhone’s eventual conquering of the known universe if not for a bit heavy-handed overreaching. Those cease-and-desists? Not so much to the makers of the skins, but to people reporting on the existence of the skins.

Hmmph. One can only hope that Apples lawyers don’t decide to extend their letters to the people discussing the letters sent to the people who were reporting on the existence of the skins in the first place. You know, attack those of us who are the natural early adopter market?

4 Responses to “An iPhony Controversy”

  1. Tyson says:

    I think the most interesting thing about this whole iPhone controversy is that Cisco apparently LOST the right to the name by just a few days back in December. According to trademark law, they had a five-year window in which to introduce a product with the iPhone name and they missed it. This is why I bet Apple felt so comfortable going forward with it. Yes, Cisco is using it now with the product they introduced about two weeks ago but they don’t actually have the rights either!

  2. Kirk says:

    Tyson, I read that story too and I have my doubts about that claim. Let’s just say the disinformation campaign has begun.

  3. Joe Cassara says:

    Regardless of their agenda, iPhony and the other copy-cat apps are including Apple artwork. Period. They’re well in their rights to threaten anyone distributing said materials with legal action.

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