ICANN/GNSO GNSO Email List Archives


<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>

Re: [registrars] Domain name related patents and patent applications

What is going to happen when someday ICANN decided to dictate that we all have to do something someone else has a patent on?

--On Friday, September 05, 2003 7:01 PM +1000 Bruce Tonkin <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hello All,

I have been doing some searching of the US patents database to see what
patents have been granted or applied for lately in the area of domain
names.  I support the idea of patents that protect a truly original
idea, especially when the idea is a result of years of expensive
research.  However, it seems the IT industry is now buried in many
patents that seem to me fairly obvious extensions of existing knowledge.
Some of the ones below look legitimate, but others are questionable.

I would be interested to hear from others if there are other patents or
patent applications I should be aware of.  It maybe worth considering
forming a group to be able to challenge some patent applications, where
there is clearly prior art that should invalidate the patent

Here is my list - starting with patents that have been recently granted.


(1) US patent number 6560634 B1; Date of patent: 6 May 2003; Filed: 13
August 1998
Title: Method of determining unavailability of an Internet domain name
Inventor: Larry Broadhurst; Assignee: Verisign


Methods, systems, and articles of manufacture consistent with the
present invention provide an improved query server that overcomes the
shortcomings of existing domain name searching techniques by performing
a multitude of searches simultaneously, transparent to the user.
Specifically, the improved query server searches for existing domain
name records in various domains and then displays the results in a
formatted manner, thus eliminating the need for a user to perform
individual searches.

My Summary:
- checking domain name availability by querying multiple DNS servers and
displaying the results

(2) US patent number: 6298341 B1; Date of patent: 2 Oct 2001; Filed: 22
September 1999
US patent number: 6519589 B2; Date of patent: 11 Feb 2003; Filed: 10
July 2001

Title: System and method for generating domain names and for
registration and transfer of the same

Inventors: Michael Mann and Ronald Fitzherbert; Assignee:

New and improved systems and methods for generating and facilitating
registration and transfer of available domain names. The systems and
methods include and involve a data storage facility for storing at least
one adjunct term for use in generating at least one registerable domain
name, and a processor arrangement which is coupled to the data storage
facility and which is configured to be accessed by a user system via an
electronic data network, to receive at least one root term from the user
system, to concatenate at least one root term with at least one adjunct
term to generate at least one candidate domain name, to query a data
source to determine if the candidate domain name(s) is available for
registration and/or transfer, and to notify the user system of the
candidate domain name(s) when the same are available for registration
and/or transfer.

My summary:
- adding prefixes and suffixes to a word supplied by the user, from a
list of pre-stored prefixes and suffixes
(e.g user supplied word: beer; derived words: freebeer, beerhall)


(3) US patent application number: 2002/0091827 A1; Date of publication:
11 July 2002;
Filed: 1 November 2001

Title: Domain name acquisition and management system and method
Status: Docketed New Case - Ready for Examination; Status Date: 27 Jan

Inventors: Raymond King, Ron Wiener, Len Bayles

A preferred embodiment of the present invention can accept an indication
of a domain name or set of domain names from interested entity. The
desired domain names are names that an interested entity desires to
register through a domain name registration system or systems, such as
that operated by a registry-accredited registrar. The system can closely
monitor the domain name registry or registrar databases used to provide
domain name resolution or registration over a distributed network, such
as the Internet, and determine the expiration or availability of the
name or names supplied by the interested entity. When a desired domain
name appears to be available, the system can register or reregister the
domain name through a domain registration service. If there is more than
one interested entity for a domain name, the system can also facilitate
an auction for the domain name.

My Summary:

This patent application is a great read.  There are 68 claims in the one
Consists of a customer requesting a particular name, and the system
determining when the name is likely to expire, periodically checking for
availability, and requesting registration of the name.   The process of
requesting the name can consist of multiple requests sent to the
registry, or through multiple registrars.
The method of domain name management consisting of monitoring RRP
transactions or monitoring WHOIS information for changes in the domain
name registration.
The method of auctioning a succeeding registration of a domain name.

This essentially seems to be the technology used in snapnames.com and

(4) US patent application number: 2002/0091703 A1; Date of publication:
11 July 2002;
Filed: 1 November 2001

Title: Registry-integrated internet domain name acquisition system

Status: Docketed New Case - Ready for Examination; Status Date: 28 Aug

Inventor: Len Bayles

A preferred embodiment of the present invention integrates a domain name
monitoring and acquisition service with a registry system. The
monitoring and acquisition service can receive a request from a
registrar to acquire a domain name. The monitoring and acquisition
service also can receive a pending delete notification from the registry
for a domain name having a registration that is about to be deleted. The
pending delete notification can be received before the registry issues a
public delete notification or purges the domain name, at which point the
domain name is registrable by the first-responding registrar. If the
domain name that is the subject of the pending delete notification has a
corresponding acquisition request received by the monitoring and
acquisition service, the monitoring and acquisition service can request
acquisition of the domain name for the requesting registrar.

My summary: This essentially seems to be the system used by Verisign to
implement WLS.

I have some more applications to review and will post to the list for

Again I welcome comments from registrars on these patents or patent

Bruce Tonkin

<<< Chronological Index >>>    <<< Thread Index >>>