Jonathan Ive has lost a procedural fight for four domains all based on his name. The domains are all owned by Harry Jones, a resident of London, England, who registered them in 2004, and which currently point to his fan site devoted to Mr. Ive.
Mr. Ive is Apple's Senior Vice President, Industrial Design, and has headed the design team responsible for the original iMac, Apple's PowerBook and MacBook Pro lines, the iPhone, the iPod, and just about everything else at Apple for the last ten or more years.
Mr. Jones is a fan of Jonny Ive's. In his filing with the WIPO, the non-governmental body that oversees such issues by treaty, Mr. Jones said:
"I'm a web designer living in the UK, and I've been a huge fan of Jonathan Ive since I first used an iMac G3 in college in 1998. I set up this site as a university project in 2004, back when the iPod still had a black and white screen and the iPhone didn't even exist!"
At issue are four domains: jonathan-ive.com, jonathanive.com, jony-ive.com, and jonyive.com, that all currently resolve to jonathanive.com.
In April of 2006, Apple first requested that Mr. Jones put up a clear disclaimer that the site was not affiliated with Apple, which he did, according to a post at the site.
"In February 2008," he wrote, "another Apple Inc. employee got in touch and I was put under great pressure to give up my website. That Apple employee offered me an iPod (and later a Macbook) in exchange. This upset me, as I had spent a tremendous amount of time building and maintaining the website. When I declined the offer, I was told I must name a sales price if I did not want to face litigation."
"I reacted emotionally to the pressure," he added, "and gave a high price of US$400,000 to dissuade harassment. I had no desire or intention to sell my website to Apple Inc."
According to out-law.com, Apple counter offered with a $10,000 offer, which Mr. Jones refused. Apple then decided to take the matter to WIPO for resolution.
In the meanwhile, Jonathan Ive sought to trademark his name in October of 2008. Had he successfully obtained that trademark, it would likely have been enough to for WIPO, but according to the findings the organization released, those trademark applications are till pending.
Jonathan Ive (photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.)
As it is, according to the WIPO's findings, neither Mr. Ive nor Apple does business under his name, nor does the company market products using his name. Indeed, Apple under Steve Jobs has been zealous in keeping any and every individual at the company from being put forward as an individual -- with the possible exception of Steve Jobs himself.
For example, there are no developer lists in application credits, no more easter eggs, and the company has said in the past this is because allowing individuals such as that to stand out belies the reality that their work is made possible by the legions of secretaries, receptionists, researchers, and other employees who don't get such attention.
So without a trademark and without Apple actively using his name, WIPO ruled in favor of Harry Jones, and allowed him to keep his domains.