IMHO, the biggest criticism of the Sunrise Challenge
is the fact that they appear to just give anybody the right to challenge, regardless
of whether they own the trademark or not. According to Afilias' site, the challenge
process can keep going until either (a) the respondent (the person being challenged)
can prove a trademark is legitimately theirs, or (b) the end of the challenge queue
is reached (which equals much more money for WIPO/Afilias). So it seems that even
if the challenger wins, they can still be open to yet another challenge (and have
to pay another $295 to be able to keep the name), albeit their guaranteed last payment
in this silly system ...
This is in s4(vi) - "Any remaining Challenger may initiate
a new challenge against the new registrant."
There are four main reasons why this
is not desirable.
(1) Why should an honest trademark holder fork out money against
a fraudulent challenge - which wastes money and time
(2) For that matter - why
should even squatters have to defend themselves against other squatters. This just
creates DomeBase's Music Chairs scenario, where no one seems to be the rightful owner,
and this wastes time and resources.
(3) If I was a smart wee CyberSquatter, I'd
challenge another obvious squatter who was not being challenged by anyone else -
on day 119 - just so that nobody else could possibly challenge me within the Challenge
Period. Certainly, this reduces the risk of the challenge for me.
(4) The current
system rewards belligerence and bullying. Also, imagine a duel between two CyberSquatters
- with a name just going between them back and forth. This is just plain ridiculous
yet I could see it happening for hard-to-trademark names.
This whole issue can
be stopped by simply verifying that the priority challenger's trademark is legitimate
before proceeding. If not, then they rightly waste their money. If the challenger
wins against the respondent, then no more challenges, just like if the respondent
won, then no more challenges could be initiated.
The only reason why I can think
this is not the current proposed protocol is pure greed. It will net Afilias a lot
of extra revenue in claim fees. I can only hope that their challenge site will tell
you if the name has been secured with a verified trademark or not, to prevent people
from blindly wasting their challenge money.