iPhone 5: Why Does Apple Want iphone5.com Domain so Badly?

By Johnny Wills | May 10, 2012 07:04 PM EDT

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Months before the next generation iPhone could possibly release, Apple wants the iPhone5.com domain handed over. The company has filed a complaint with WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) challenging the ownership of the iphone5.com domain.

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Surprisingly, iphone5.com is run by a small community forum of dedicated iPhone fans that are anxiously waiting for the release of the next generation iPhone. Earlier this week, it was believed that the domain is run by an anonymous users based in Australia. However, the updated WHOIS database states that the domain is registered to Alexander Bitkin with a PO Box in Moscow region, Russia.

Currently there are more than 400 registered members on iPhone5.com. The owner is in no mood to hand over the domain, but the members have mixed emotions, with some members in favor of the shutdown, while others are opposing the move.

There is little hope for the little known forum to stand up against Apple. "iPhone" is a registered trademark, so whatever the name of next iPhone will be - iPhone 5, iPhone 4G LTE or even the new iPhone - each name is automatically a trademark of Apple. WIPO allows trademark holder to file a case against the domain-name holder if the domain contents damage the trademark holder's reputation or there is any copyright violation.

Although, Apple has paid for acquiring the domains like iPhone4.com and whiteiphone.com in the past, but this time Apple is seeking help of Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) with WIPO. Apple already owns the rights to iPhone.com, iPhone4.com and iPhone4S.com, which redirect the incoming traffic to Apple.com. Typing in iPhone3GS.com, however, redirects to c-ellphone.com, while iPhone3G.com lands on an "iPhone 3G Directory" via searchnut.com.

The tech giant also encountered a similar problem last year, when it seized seven domains with the help of WIPO, including iphone4s.com and ipods.com. Those domains used to redirect visitors to pornographic content.

A possible reason that why Apple wants to seize iphone5.com domain is that "iPhone 5" keyword is getting over 20 million searches on Google alone, in a month. So, Apple does not want to take a chance to make those things happen again.

Case number D2012-0951 is currently active between Apple and WIPO. In case of third generation iPad, Apple ditched its naming convention with the launch of the new iPad. But, Apple's strong desire to acquire iphone5.com domain indicates that there will be no "new iPhone" in the market. In all probability, the next-generation iPhone could be officially called "iPhone 5".

(reported by Johnny Wills, edited by Surojit Chatterjee)


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