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Apple wins iPhone5.com domain name

Steve Sande, @stevensande
May 17, 2012
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Apple's attempt to wrest control the iPhone5.com domain name from the hands of a cybersquatter has been a success. TheNextWeb reports that the company's complaint to the World Intellectual Properties Organization (WIPO) resulted in the iPhone5.com domain being handed over to Apple.

The fact that the company has re-obtained the domain name doesn't necessarily mean that the next iPhone will be called the iPhone 5, nor that Apple will ever use the domain name. In fact, the domain is currently being held by Corporation Service Company, a firm that specializes in brand protection and may have been used by Apple to grab ownership.

In the world of intellectual property law, it is considered vital for organizations to actively protect trademarks. In this case, the domain had been registered in 2008 by a group that operated an online forum. While registering the domain, the former owners noted that "it was not endorsed, sponsored, nor otherwise affiliated with Apple" and was "for the sole purpose of entertainment and knowledge."

Apple hasn't been as aggressive in protecting other domain names. It does not own iPad.com, and hasn't attempted to take control of the name. Apple did manage to acquire iPods.com after a protracted battle, but doesn't own iBooks.com (publishing rival Barnes & Noble does) or iBookstore.com.

With all of Apple's intellectual property battles raging around the world, it must feel good to win a small skirmish like this.

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