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Apple may face iPhone trademark issue in Japan

Japan's largest intercom maker, Aiphone Co., is said to have approached Apple to discuss the possibility that the iPhone violate its ''Aiphone'' trademark.

Kyodo World Service reports that Aiphone, which is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, claims that Apple's audio-centric iPhone handset may infringe on its long-standing trademark.

The Nagoya-based company is said to own the rights to use ''Aiphone'' in Japan and some 70 foreign countries as the trademark for its intercom products.

Representatives from both Aiphone and Apple reportedly declined to comment on the matter, but did not deny that the two companies were in talks with each other.

Back in January, Apple faced similar opposition over its use of the iPhone mark from network giant Cisco, which subsequently filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court.

Apple and Cisco eventually reached an out-of-court settlement that allowed both companies to use the iPhone trademark on their products throughout the world.