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Username: Garry Anderson
Date/Time: Thu, January 17, 2002 at 1:25 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows 98
Subject: SpyProductions - by Reuters


ICANN - this is not just SpyProductions fault.

Get your finger out of your ...

Title: Internet domain manager launches challenge of names
By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (Reuters) - The manager of a new Internet domain said on Wednesday that it had brought before an arbitration panel the first batch out of an estimated 10,000 domain names whose legitimacy it is challenging

Afilias, a consortium of 18 domain-name retailers which introduced the new Internet domain ``.info'', said it had brought an initial batch of 741 names before the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Owners of names like, and used false trademark claims to reserve the names in a special preregistration period, said Roland LaPlante, chief marketing officer of Afilias.

Afilias ran into trouble last summer when it became apparent that thousands of its most desirable new names, such as and, had been taken off the market before they were made available to the general public.

Afilias had set up a preregistration ``sunrise'' period to allow companies to reserve trademarks like before cybersquatters could claim them and sell them back for exorbitant fees.

But before the month-long sunrise period had ended, an Afilias database showed that thousands of names had been registered using questionable trademark data or no data at all. As many as one in four preregistered names used questionable trademark data, according to one estimate.

Afilias announced that it would challenge the questionable entries through an intellectual-property arbitration forum, after allowing individuals time to mount challenges of their own.

LaPlante said he expected the company to recover most of the names that have been questioned without a fight. Recovered names will be made available to the public around the end of March, he said.

``Our expectation is that most if not all names challenged will remain undefended,'' LaPlante said.


Some .info name holders caught in the Afilias sweep blamed domain-name retailers for their predicament.

They asserted that retailers submitted applications during the ``sunrise'' period without their consent, exposing them to Afilias' challenge.

Other registrars encouraged customers to file during the sunrise period whether or not they had trademarks to protect, said Robert Connor, a University of Minnesota professor.

Connor forwarded an e-mail to Reuters from domain-name seller SpyProductions, which urged customers to apply during the sunrise period because Afilias was not checking to see if trademarks were valid.

SpyProductions President Lars Hindsley told Reuters his company submitted all applications during the sunrise period unless customers specifically said not to.

If customers did not supply trademark data, SpyProductions filled in the applications with meaningless, ``default'' data, he said. Customers could update the forms with legitimate trademark data if they wished to do so, Hindsley said.

``Anybody who participated in SpyProductions' preregistration system was very well informed,'' he said.

Afilias' LaPlante said the company would not intervene in disputes between retailers and their customers.

``I expect that a great many of those people will cry foul, that they were misled, that they didn't mean it, that they had good intentions. It's not really our position to judge what their intentions were,'' he said.


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