ICANN - this is not just SpyProductions fault.
Get your finger out of your ...
Internet domain manager launches challenge of names
By Andy Sullivan
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.
of names like clinton.info, afghanistan.info and airplane.info 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 computer.info
and sex.info, had been taken off the market before they were made available to the
Afilias had set up a preregistration ``sunrise'' period to allow
companies to reserve trademarks like http://www.cocacola.info 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.
announced that it would challenge the questionable entries through an intellectual-property
arbitration forum, after allowing individuals time to mount challenges of their own.
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.
NAME HOLDERS BLAME RETAILERS
name holders caught in the Afilias sweep blamed domain-name retailers for their predicament.
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.
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
SpyProductions President Lars Hindsley told Reuters his company submitted
all applications during the sunrise period unless customers specifically said not
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.
participated in SpyProductions' preregistration system was very well informed,''
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.