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Apple victorious in iphone5.com domain dispute

Complaint Apple filed with U.N. agency over URL now settled

Apple has apparently won control of the iphone5.com domain, according to changes in a Web record of the URL.

Previously, Apple had filed a claim on iphone5.com with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency that arbitrates domain disputes in cases of "cybersquatting."

As late as last week, the URL directed visitors to a small-scale discussion forum devoted to smartphones.

WIPO records now show that the complaint has been "terminated," indicating that the case has been closed. The label is often used when parties have settled their dispute over a domain.

According to a WHOIS search, iphone5.com is now in the control of Corporation Service Company (CSC), a Delaware legal, business and financial firm that, among other things, offers domain protection and recovery services.

"CSC can help your company boost revenues and enhance its brand security by recovering misspelled and "cybersquatted" variants of your brand names from third-party infringers," the company's website stated.

It's unlikely that any other company but Apple would have been awarded custody of the domain by WIPO. CSC is likely acting on Apple's behalf.

iphone5.com no longer shows users the discussion forum, but instead results in a blank page.

The Next Web first reported the change in the WIPO claim record.

Some had speculated that the domain move might have been prompted by the constant use of the "iPhone 5" label by bloggers and the press to describe Apple's next smartphone.

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

Apple is not expected to launch the next iPhone until this fall.

Apple has gone to WIPO numerous times to gain control of domains it believes infringe its trademarks. Last November, for instance, the company filed a claim -- ultimately successful -- to acquire iphone4s.com and seven other URLs, all with the "iphone" name.

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

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

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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