It is not unusual for website owners to register domain names that look to benefit off of the buzz generated by another party. In fact, trademark holders filed more than 2,750 complaints related to "cybersquatting" last year alone. However, Apple is responding with unique vigor this time in its effort to protect its brand equity and secure control for the www.iphone5.com domain name.
As it stands, the website is an online forum where fans of the Apple brand come to speculate on the rumored innovations of the next generation of iPhones. In a complaint filed with the WIPO, the mobile manufacturer has requested control of the domain name.
This is not the first time Apple has pursued this course of action, as complaints were filed regarding similar misappropriations of product names following the launch of the iPhone 4S. However, the company only secured custody of those domain names long after the new smartphone had been on the market. In this case, Apple is using a preemptive strategy to protect a name it may or may not use in its future product catalog.
"Given that Apple typically doesn't pursue domain names for its products until after they launch, lest their name be revealed ahead of time by the negotiation process, it seems odd that Apple is already seeking to gain control of iPhone5.com," Mac Rumors columnist Eric Slivka noted.
According to PCWorld, Apple may receive some unexpected assistance in this matter from a traditional intellectual property litigation foe. Thanks to Google's proprietary filtering features, there is a good chance that searches for the iPhone 5 will ultimately be redirected to a category page established by Google that aggregates only the most legitimate and relevant websites.