Afilias begins challenge of '.info' names

International

Afilias, the company selected by ICANN to administer the '.info' domain name, has announced that it has filed the first set of several bulk challenges with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) against names that may have been inappropriately registered during the pre-registration period.

The '.info' domain was available to the online public in October 2001, but prior to that Afilias gave trademark holders a chance to pre-register '.info' domains during a 'sunrise period', which ran from July 25 to August 27. Approximately 50,000 addresses were filed during this period. The company offered this opportunity in an attempt to allow trademark holders the chance to claim their names before they were offered to the public and to avoid situations of cybersquatting. The company quickly became aware that many parties misrepresented themselves as trademark owners and inappropriately registered '.info' names.

Afilias has now asked the WIPO arbitrators to revoke the registrations of 741 '.info' names assigned during the pre-registration period. The company has said that it plans to execute a series of bulk challenges against all names that may have been inappropriately registered. Afilias has not yet announced how it will re-assign the domain names found to have been fraudulently registered.

This is not the first problem Afilias has encountered in attempting to launch the '.info' domain name. Last September, the company encountered delays as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks and then experienced further delays after its debut due to high demand from applicants slowed its servers to unacceptable levels.

Douglas Wood and Linda Goldstein, Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein & Wood LLP, New York

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