updated 07:30 pm EDT, Wed June 1, 2011
Already owns iPod.com but not iPad.com
Apple has formally lodged a complaint with ICANN regarding the domain name iPods.com, the plural form of a domain name the company already owns -- nine years after the domain was first registered, TechCrunch reports. Apple, which owns the iPod trademark, has petitioned to have the domain transferred to it -- usually an action taken after negotiations to buy the domain have failed to produce an agreement.
Corporations that own trademarks to brand names can appeal to ICANN to suspend private ownership of those domain names -- known as "squatting" -- when they can show that the private owner is abusing or causing harm to the trademark, deliberately confusing potential customers or improperly profiting from the association to the trademarked brand name. Such appeals are usually, but not always, successful: recently Facebook asked to have a number of derivative domain names, such as Facebookbabes.com, transferred to it and was successful -- but famously, The Economist magazine lost its appeal to have theeconomist.com given over to it, with the panel citing the 11-year delay and lack of harm as factors in their decision.
Currently, iPods.com re-directs to a holder site called MP3Gold.com, which ostensibly offers unspecified "information" about iOS devices and accessories but also (as is typical of "parked for profit" pages) points to illegal MP3 downloading sites. Historically, disputes between large corporations seeking domains representing their established trademarks and "squatters" tend to go in the corporation's favor if they can demonstrate that reasonable efforts have already been made to privately negotiate an agreement to acquire the domain name through normal channels.
Apple long ago obtained the domain name for iPod.com, along with other trademarked product names like iPhone.com, iTunes.com, iMac.com and so forth -- though oddly the company has so far failed to register any objection to the third-party registration of iPad.com -- which simply resolves to a "under construction/coming soon" type page at present -- despite owning the trademark to "iPad." [via TechCrunch]