Apple doesn’t own iPad.com, apple.co.uk or many other domains that contain its name or the names of its products, but it is now the proud owner of applecom.com and appleprinters.com — two domains that were the subject of a complaint Apple made to the World Intellectual Property Organization about a month ago.
If you now visit those URLs, they automatically redirect to Apple’s main site.
The site Domain Tools notes that Apple picked up both applecom.com and appleprinters.com from Mark Monitor, the domain management and brand protection firm that provides services also to Facebook and Google, among others. Apple Inc. now owns “about 1,071 domains,” according to Whois records.
Apple has not made many pleas directly to the WIPO, an agency of the United Nations, in its attempt to gain better control over its brand, but in those cases where it has, the outcomes seem to have always gone in Apple’s favor.
In November, it complained to the WIPO over seven domain names that included “iPhone” in their names that went straight to porn sites. Now most of those domains are dead except for iphone4s.com, which now redirects to Apple’s main site.
It was also a WIPO complaint that helped Apple pick up iPods.com in July 2011.
Despite its ownership of over one thousand domains, there is still a lot of ground to be covered for Apple. For example iBookstore.com currently redirects to the mobile site for Project Gutenberg, a volunteer effort to digitize cultural works and quite possibly the oldest digital library around (very clever, Gutenberg guys — since it’s likely that someone using and iPad or iPhone accessing iBooks, a mobile site is exactly where they’d want to go).
There is also the issue of trademarks: earlier this year Apple was unsuccessful in getting Wapple, a mobile internet company in the UK, to stop using the name Wapple, claiming the company was trading off of Apple’s success (Wapple’s argument is that it existed before Apple waded into mobile, and when mobile Internet was synonymous with the WAP protocol).
You might well wonder why it is that, given just how many Apple domain permutations there are out there (AppleiCloud, anyone?), Apple went for these two domains. Applecom.com is an easy guess: people mistype without the .com all the time, and a lot of browsers automatically add the .com when that is missing.
Or it could be — as was the case with the seven iPhone domains Apple got last year — because there was something dodgy on those sites (“best to avoid visiting those” wrote TNW at the time when Apple filed its original WIPO complaint for appleprinters.com and applecom.com). I tried looking for a historical view of both, but Wayback gave me no dice.
Or perhaps the Onion did a double-bluff and Apple really is looking at a renewed effort into the world of printers?
Stranger things have happened.