iCloud is the primary cloud service of Apple and a vital part of Apple’s “eco system”. iCloud was launched in October of 2011 and the number of users are today estimated at 800 million.
However, it was not until April the same year that Apple acquired the domain name icloud.com. The domain name was bought from the Swedish company Xcerion, along with the trademark rights to the name. Reportedly, Apple paid Xcerion around $5.2 million at the time.
Apple has since then had the objective of having total exclusivity in regards to the iCloud wording, legally in terms of registered trademarks, as well as digitally in terms of domain names. The remaining 170 iCloud domain names registered by Xcerion were transferred to Apples administration and ownership four years after icloud.com.
Apple is now wrapping it up by acquiring icloud.net. The .NET top level domain name is all in all the fourth largest, only superseded by .COM, .RU and .ORG. The domain name has since 2011 been a Chinese social network that is now being closed because of the purchase.
The iCloud case is an excellent example of the importance of “owning” a brand online, as well as legally in terms of registered trademarks. Creating a strong trademark protection solely is not the same as creating a digital exclusivity to a brand. A registered trademark is namely just one of several prerequisites required in order to claim right to a specific domain name. An example as good as any is the domain name amazon.se, the thorn in the online giant Amazon’s side (read all about that here). If this is not enough, the prerequisites often differ from top level domain to top level domain.
The iCloud case shows that you actually can get exclusivity to a brand, legally as well as digitally, even if you get in the game late. However, having Apple’s war chest to bankroll the operation is rare, to say the least.
Lastly, this showcases more than anything that it is always less costly to act proactively in terms of registering trademarks and domain names, than reactively dispute and/or acquire already registered trademarks and domain names.
If you want to know more about how to act proactively to ensure your exclusivity to your trademark(s), legally as well as digitally? Contact us today!
Since we posted this back in February, things have happened in regards to amazon.se.
On the 8th of March the ownership changed hands and the new owner is Amazon’s European subsidiary Amazon Europe Core S.à.r.l.
What Amazon actually paid for acquiring the domain name is not known. However, one might assume it was lucrative deal for the previous owner. Thus proving the conclusion in the article, it is always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to domain names and trademarks.