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Username: LegalEagle
Date/Time: Fri, January 4, 2002 at 9:53 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows NT 5.0
Subject: Yes ...


This was my interpretation also. In its policy, Afilias do not restrict successful registrants from transfering names to any other party *after* the challenge period or when all challenges for that domain have been processed. To do so would restrict free trade and undermine the effectiveness of the TLD; it would be bad for Afilias' business if the deepest pocketed companies couldn't buy and develop sites for .info domains, thus prevening other net users from viewing .info domains as valuable domain alternatives.

It still remains to be seen whether a trademark holder could successfully challenge a domain for a common non-famous mark after the challenge period, based on the fact that the successful sunrise registrant did not own a trademark. My opinion is that the challenge would not be successful simply because common law trademark rights cannot be superceded by Afilias' sunrise policy, which effectively amounts to just a private contract between itself and the successful registrant. Instead Afilias may evoke its challenge of last resort but as far as I could tell, this only applies for domains registered after December 6, 2001 and the domain would have to be challenged before Afilias unlocks the domain, allowing it to be transferred.

If Afilias were to challenge the name after transfer, then the new owner would probably have recourse from Afilias as the registrant-registry agreement would amount to a new contract stating that the new registrant has rights to the name, whether the new registrant owns a TM or not.

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