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Apple safe from Citrix's legal hounds

Nortel sniffs the iPhone

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Luckily for Apple, neither Citrix nor Nortel seem eager for an iPhone lawsuit.

Earlier this month, we reported that Citrix sells Visual Voicemail software for smart phones that performs the same basic functions as the "new" Visual Voicemail application announced with Apple's iPhone. Citrix licenses the software to a number of companies including Cisco, which has filed a lawsuit against Apple over the iPhone name, and Nortel. Gentle, untrademarked vendor that it is, Citrix considers the Visual Voicemail name Sarah, Plain and Tall enough to reject legal action at this time.

"The term Visual Voicemail is used to describe one of the features of the Citrix Voice Office application suite for users of IP telephones," the company told The Register. "We have been using this term for a number of years as Net6 and then as Citrix. As this term is used generically in the industry by a number of other vendors, we have not registered it as a trademark. Given the value of this capability for users, we support the broad use of the term to increase it’s visibility with our customers and the broader user community."

Nortel, which has included Citrix's Visual Voicemail software with its products for some time, sees no trademark beef either, but is looking at the iPhone patents.

"There may or may not be some patent infringements," a Nortel spokesman said. "We have our legal staff digging into that."

All of the Visual Voicemail software in question does just what it says. The code makes it possible to see voicemail information such as the name of the caller and length of their message on your device. Users can then pick and choose which messages they want to hear rather than going in sequential order as you would do with a standard voicemail system.

You have to abhor Apple's pluck in using no imagination at all as it enters the phone market. A company so obsessed with names and naming rights ought to find a better description for its "revolutionary" product. If this continues, the likes of Cisco and Nortel may just cut iPhone users' traffic off at the switch. That'll show Steve. ®

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