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Username: bezzant
Date/Time: Sat, August 4, 2001 at 12:19 AM GMT (Sat, August 4, 2001 at 10:19 AM EAST)
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows 98
Subject: .INFO Sunrise - Dawn of the Dead

Message:
 

        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 up too?

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.

"Employment.info" 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?

And 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.

Despite 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".

********************

     

Bill Bezzant
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
bill.bezzant@saipan.com


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