–Dan Kelly, Attorney
In the past on these pages, I have been hard on Apple Inc. for apparent missteps in securing trademark rights to some of its more well-known products (iPhone, iPad). Last week, Apple landed a victory on the domain name front, winning a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Procedure (“UDRP”) decision for the appl.com domain name. This was a no contest affair, and the panelist called it “a textbook example of typosquatting.” Apple also owns another omitted-letter typo of its apple.com domain name, aple.com. It does not appear to own the two other omitted-letter typos of its principal domain name: appe.com or pple.com.
Admittedly, upon visual inspection of just the domain names themselves, neither appe.com nor pple.com, to my mind, really calls to mind apple.com. Appe.com looks more like an added-letter typo of app.com (app.com seeming to be owned by the Asbury Park Press, though you have to look pretty hard to find it), and pple.com looks like a shortened form of people.com, predictably owned by People Magazine.
Well, pictures tell the story. Here are screen shots of the appl.com, appe.com, and pple.com landing pages as they appear as of this writing:
All three are obviously trading on mis-directed traffic from apple.com, which goes to show you that domainers understand the dynamics of direct navigation and type-in traffic on the Internet. They understand it better than most brand owners.
And here is a humorous aside that I stumbled upon in my research: the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”), provider of UDRP arbitration services, can be found at wipo.org–and the owners of wipo.com know it. Physician, heal thyself.