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Apple wants iphone5.com domain handed over

Files claim with U.N. arbitration agency to take control of URL

Apple is disputing ownership of the iphone5.com domain, sparking speculation that the company will use the long-rumored name for its next smartphone.

The Cupertino, Calif. electronics maker has filed a claim with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency that arbitrates Web domain disputes in cases of "cybersquatting," naming iphone5.com as the target.

The domain is currently active and hosts a discussion forum devoted to smartphones. It's unclear who owns iphone5.com since the domain, which was activated in early 2008, was registered anonymously. But it may have an Australian connection: The domain registrar which assigned the URL is based in that country.

Fusible first reported Apple's claim on Sunday.

Others, including MacRumors, speculated that the move may have been prompted by the constant use of the "iPhone 5" label by bloggers and the press to describe Apple's next model.

Last fall, prior to the introduction of the iPhone 4S, most everyone pegged the upcoming iteration as the iPhone 5. That tag has persisted this year, as talk of the 2012 version heats up.

Apple has gone to the WIPO well numerous times to gain control of domains it believes infringe its trademarks.

In November 2011, the company filed a claim -- ultimately successful -- to acquire iphone4s.com and seven other URLs, all with the "iphone" name, and several of which included phrases such as "porn," "sex" and "xxx."

iphone4s.com currently redirects browsers to Apple's iPhone page.

Other domains involved in active, Apple-initiated claims now before WIPO include itunes.net, appplemusic.com and applestor.com.

iphone5.com's owners did not immediately reply to a request for comment submitted through the website.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected].

Read more about internet in Computerworld's Internet Topic Center.

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