Has Apple taken control of iPhone5.com?

Apple had complained to the World Intellectual Property Organization about the domain, which was unaffiliated with the iPhone maker. And now it seems to have found closure.

Jon Skillings Editorial director
Jon Skillings is an editorial director at CNET, where he's worked since 2000. A born browser of dictionaries, he honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing for tech publications -- including at PC Week and the IDG News Service -- back when the web was just getting under way, and even a little before. For CNET, he's written on topics from GPS, AI and 5G to James Bond, aircraft, astronauts, brass instruments and music streaming services.
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Jon Skillings
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iPhone 4S
Apple may have gotten its hands on the domain name iPhone5.com. (Pictured is the iPhone 4S.) Josh Miller/CNET

The World Intellectual Property Organization has concluded its look into Apple's complaint over the iPhone5.com domain, which seems to suggest a victory for the iPhone maker.

Earlier this month, iPhone5.com was a forum site, created in February 2008. Its copyright statement clearly indicated that it was "not endorsed, sponsored, nor otherwise affiliated with Apple" and that it was created "for the sole purpose of entertainment and knowledge."

And that seems to have gotten under Apple's skin, hence the complaint to the WIPO.

The minimalist WIPO filing page now declares the case "Terminated." While that alone doesn't indicate exactly how the case was resolved, or in whose favor, Apple has proven victorious in other such complaints. The iPhone5.com site, meanwhile, no longer shows the forum activity or ads that once were there -- in fact, it doesn't show anything at all, except a lot of white space.

We've requested comment from Apple and will update this story when we get a response.

The WhoIs record doesn't offer anything conclusive. It now lists the owner of the domain as the blandly named, Wilmington, Del.-based Corporation Service Company, with the record having been modified on Monday.

Like many companies, Apple has done battle before to take possession of domain names in a quest to protect the good name of its products. In November, for instance, having filed a complaint with the WIPO, Apple was able to take control of seven "iPhone" domain names, including the straightforward iphone4s.com and the more prurient iphonesex4s.com.

To date, Apple's smartphone line has counted up only to the iPhone 4S, but the company is widely believed to be getting ready to bring an iPhone 5 into the world. Of course, ahead of the iPhone 4S launch last fall, a good many people expected that device would be the 5 model. By way of comparison, Apple's latest tablet was generally expected to be the iPad 3, but ended up being called just the new iPad.

Apple is widely expected to deliver the iPhone 5 sometime this year.

While there are no specifications to be gleaned from the WIPO filing, the mere fact of the complaint does at least suggest that Apple is considering the iPhone 5 name for the next iteration of its market-defining device. Or perhaps it just wishes to take that domain out of play, regardless of what it calls the device.

For speculation about what the iPhone 5 (or whatever it ends up being called) might feature, check out CNET's regularly updated "iPhone 5 rumor roundup." Among the latest reports are claims that the next iPhone will have a 4-inch screen and a thinner, taller body.

(Via The Next Web)

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