Apple is going after porn sites with “iPhone” in the title, attempting to protect its name from association with adult content by alleging intellectual property infringement.
The iPhone-maker complained to the World Intellectual Property Forum, or WIPO, about seven domains, including iphone4s.com, iphonecam4s.com, iphoneporn4s.com and porn4iphones.com.
Iphone4s.com, which went online in 2008, is especially troubling for Apple since its innocuous name references the company’s latest popular handset.
Apple is no stranger to litigation against companies and websites that use its name, with the company taking strong stances to protect and defend its brand and intellectual property. The handset maker likely wants to keep its flagship product from being associated with unseemly content, especially during the current high-profile period for the iPhone 4S.
The device launched three weeks ago and sales are surging. The phone has also attracted news attention for a slew of performance issues, such as fast battery drain, slow performance on Sprint, and outages and issues related to its voice-assistant program Siri.
The handset is a focus for attention, and stumbling upon problematic content as users search for information on the iPhone 4S may embarrass a company known to be very protective of its image.
The domains in question may have provoked a formidable enemy, as Apple has proved relentless in maintaining its image, resorting to lawsuits in the past to protect its intellectual property and brand assets.
Apple sued Amazon in the spring for trademark infringement over the use of the name “App Store,” fighting to maintain its grip on the term in a high-stakes market it early dominated. A judge denied Apple’s bid to stop Amazon from using the term until the issue goes to trial, but the case is expected to go to court in 2012.
Apple has also fought fiercely to keep adult content from its App Store, with founder Steve Jobs taking a strong stance against associating his company with sexually explicit materials and apps that denigrate others. Many apps, such as one concerning a gay “cure” and another making a game of illegal immigration, have been banned from Apple’s marketplace as a result of this policy, but the practice has also drawn controversy.
The adult content domains may be riding the iPhone 4S’ current popularity to draw unwitting viewers, but Apple will likely continue to battle to keep its most prominent offering as untarnished as possible.