WIPO recently posted to its website that the domain has been ‘Terminated’, with the domain owner expected to have relinquished ownership. The iPhone5.com domain is now being held by brand protection agency Corporation Service Company, which may have been used by Apple to hold it for the company.
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The domain was registered in 2008 and operated as a online bulletin board. Its owners stated that it was “not endorsed, sponsored, nor otherwise affiliated with Apple” and was “for the sole purpose of entertainment and knowledge.”
The dispute doesn’t confirm that Apple will name its next-generation smartphone ‘iPhone 5’, the company is probably acting to stop people from profiting from its trademarks.
Apple has sometimes taken its time to protect its trademarks by claiming domain names from squatters. The company doesn’t own iPad.com – and has never claimed it, even though it owns the trademark since acquiring it from Fujitsu in March 2010).
It also took the company ages to – successfully – claim the domain iPods.com. It also doesn’t own iBooks.com (Barnes & Noble grabbed this), nor iBookstore.com.
Even if we did soon see the iPhone 5, Apple is highly likely not to actually use the domain. In many cases, such disputes are merely protective plays.