Advisory Concerning Unqualified .info "Sunrise" Registrations
(14 August 2001) Afilias, the ICANN-designated operator of the .info TLD registry, today announced plans to directly challenge certain unqualified sunrise registrations.
To qualify for a sunrise registration, the applicant for a domain name must have a registered trademark of national effect that was issued before 2 October 2000, and the trademarked word(s) must exactly match the domain name. The .info start-up plan provides for a challenge procedure under which third parties can require that entitlement to any sunrise registration be verified by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). If the challenging party itself has a registered trademark, the domain name will be transferred to that party; if the challenger does not have a trademark the domain name will be returned to the pool of names available for registration.
Afilias has completed four queues of sunrise registrations, and is preparing to begin accepting real-time sunrise registrations.
Shortly after the first queues of sunrise registrations were processed, it became evident that some registrants had submitted registrations that on their face did not qualify for registration in the sunrise period: many of the alleged trademarks did not exactly match the domain name registered, had dates that were after the 2 October 2000 cut-off, or had trademark numbers in an obviously wrong format.
While anyone can challenge a sunrise registration, under the supplemental challenge procedure announced today by Afilias, the registry itself will submit a challenge against any of these facially unqualified sunrise registrations that are not challenged by others. The names that are cancelled due to the registry's challenges will be returned to the pool of available names at a later time.
The .info sunrise registration mechanism is one of several methods that are being tried out in the current proof of concept to address the potential for massive abuse of trademark rights that can occur when large new parts of the DNS namespace are activated. .biz and .name have mechanisms for addressing this issue different from .info's, as will the other new TLDs. By evaluating the results of each process after it is concluded, ICANN hopes to be able to develop one or more sound approaches to dealing with these issues.