Greetings ICANN Community,
Following is the text of
a news story I have written and attempted to publish in the news media, but because
Afilias has shut down their WHOIS service, the facts cannot be verified at this time
by the news publishers. Story follows:
The much anticipated launch of ".INFO",
the first of seven new ICANN-approved gTLDs to augment the availability of ".com"
and ".net" domain names, got underway on August 1st when Afilias (http://www.afilias.info)
, the registrar awarded management of the .info gTLD, began its "Sunrise" advance
registration for trademark-holders worldwide. The first round Sunrise registrations
were awarded by lottery among customer entries submitted earlier through dozens of
retail domain registrars, and the results were posted late yesterday on the Afilias
website (http://www.afilias.info) through their WHOIS lookup.
But the .info launch
is permeated with fraudulent registrations by trademark imposters, and despite Afilias'
preparations for the launch, no steps have been taken to prevent trademark fraud
by Sunrise registrants. According to registration requirements posted on both
the Afilias website (http://www.afilias.info/faq/ip-owners.html) and the ICANN website
(http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/info/registry-agmt-appj-11may01.htm) each Sunrise
registration must be for a domain name exactly matching the trademark name, registered
in the national trademark registry of a recognized country, registered before October
2, 2000. But the Sunrise registrations for such notable domain names as "china.info",
"japan.info", "australia.info", "cruises.info", "rice.info" and "taxes.info" indicate
trademark names having no similarity to the domain name, and in one case the trademark
is simply "unknown".
Domain names such as "lasvegas.info" were registered with
trademark numbers that simply do not exist in the U.S. Trademark online database,
strongly indicating their questionable authenticity. Patrick Nobriga registered the
Sunrise domain names "Reno.info", "LosAngeles.info", "chicken.info" and "beef.info"
all using the same trademark number "137636599", which does not exist in the U.S.
Trademark online database. Patrick also successfully registered the Sunrise domain
name "news.info" using the trademark number "123456789". Should we look that one
Sunrise registrations such as "taxes.info", "Japan.info", and "China.info"
have trademark dates later than October 2, 2000 (the "taxes.info" trademark submittal
indicates a date just last week, July 27, 2001). Yet these domains were accepted
and processed in the Afilias Sunrise registration without question.
and "Hotels.info" were both registered using the same Israel-issued trademark number
153278563 during the Sunrise period to Cass Foster of Communigal Communications.
Nice domain names; but which one, if any, is the real Israeli trademark 153278563?
the enterprising Stephen Rumney of World Information Services has entered authentic-looking
Egyptian trademark numbers for "Asia.info", "Jobs.info", "Loans.info", and "Sports.info",
but the trademark names are "asiainfo", "jobsinfo", "loansinfo", and "sportsinfo"
which should have resulted in the domain names "AsiaInfo.info", "JobsInfo.info" etc.
years of planning by ICANN, and months of contract negotiations between ICANN
and Afilias, extensive public relations by Afilias, and extensive certification processes
for .info authorized registrars, Afilias' disregard for obviously fraudulent trademark
submissions during the Sunrise period has prevented tens of thousands of legitimate
customers from competing for non-trademarked domain names during the public registration
periods that will not open until September 2001. Now that these important domain
names have been fraudulently awarded during the Sunrise registration they are no
longer available for legitimate customers until after a lengthy and costly "Sunrise
Challenge" process or through legal action in the courts.
Perhaps disgruntled domain
name customers could visit www.attorneys.info to find an attorney who might file
a class-action lawsuit, but...ooops! The domain name "attorneys.info" was registered
during the Sunrise period to Gregory Carbonaro using U.S. Trademark No. 2469675,
and according to the U.S. Patent Office online database at http://www.uspto.gov
the U.S. Trademark 2469675 was issued in July 2001 to the Dairy Farmers of America
for a form of dried skim milk trademarked "Savortex"; not "Attorneys".