Domain names are important. And if you happen to own a domain that a big company, say like Apple, wants or arguably needs, then you might be looking at a nice little payday. Remember it was just a few months ago that Apple paid about $4.5 million to Xcerion for the iCloud.com domain. And back in 2007, Apple dished out at least $1 million (an undisclosed 7 figure sum) to a businessman named Michael Kovatch in exchange for the iPhone.com domain. We should point out, in this age of domain squatting, that Kovatch had owned the iPhone.com domain since 1995, two years before the iMac even debuted.
With each passing year, domain squatters are increasingly trying to take advantage of upcoming Apple products and variations on existing Apple products. A google search for "iPhone 5", for example, returns a number of domains whose primary existence is to seemingly take advantage of google search traffic. And not too surprisingly, iphone6.com, iPhone7.com, hell even iPhone44 are all already registered.
That said, let's now turn to iPods.com.
On April 28, 2002, a few months after Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod, someone registered iPods.com. Oddly enough, it wasn't until 2011 that Apple decided, "Hey, it might be nice to own iPods.com")
And so, Apple levied a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to take control over the domain. We have to assume that Apple at some point offered money to the iPods.com owner in return for the domain, but again, that's purely speculative.
In any event, WIPO panelist David Claims issued a ruling this past Friday ordering iPods.com to be transferred to Apple. In pursuing what would subsequently produce a favorable outcome, Apple decided to take advantage of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy which states in part:
Most types of trademark-based domain-name disputes must be resolved by agreement, court action, or arbitration before a registrar will cancel, suspend, or transfer a domain name. Disputes alleged to arise from abusive registrations of domain names (for example, cybersquatting) may be addressed by expedited administrative proceedings that the holder of trademark rights initiates by filing a complaint with an approved dispute-resolution service provider.
Apple initially filed its complaint with WIPO in May 2011 and it didn't take them long to rule in Apple's favor. That said, we might see Apple take more actions regarding domain squatting to WIPO going forward instead of making large cash payments to folks looking to make a quick buck.