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Afilias to Challenge Questionable Sunrise Registrations in .INFO

NEWTOWN, PA – August 15, 2001 — Afilias has successfully begun its Sunrise Period, an early registration opportunity for trademark holders worldwide to protect their marks in the new .INFO domain. We have been very encouraged by registrations to date, which include many of world's top brands.

As Sunrise proceeds, it appears that some registrants have attempted to circumvent the eligibility requirements by posing as trademark holders and registering names in advance of the public opening on September 12. Afilias today announced plans to directly challenge certain registrations by using the established Sunrise Challenge process or other mechanisms already in place.

Hal Lubsen, Afilias' CEO, said, "It is unfortunate that some individuals have misused the Sunrise period in an attempt to abuse the process. However, Afilias is committed to doing its part to maintain the integrity of the .INFO domain, and believes that our direct challenge to questionable names will be in the best interest of both trademark holders and the general public."

Roland LaPlante, Afilias' Chief Marketing Officer added, "Afilias specifically adopted the Sunrise Process to ensure that legitimate trademark holders had an opportunity to register trademarks in the .INFO domain before the public. That process is working well. However, the absence of a globally coordinated trademark database precludes us from being able to pre-screen and verify the trademark information submitted, thus enabling some potentially illegitimate registrations. Recognizing this potential, we partnered with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a leader in intellectual property protection, to design a Sunrise Challenge process to address this situation."

The Sunrise Challenge process offers trademark holders the opportunity to quickly and easily recapture their mark. In the process, anyone can challenge a registration through WIPO. When challenged, the registrant in question must provide proof of their eligibility or forfeit the name and their minimum 5-year registration fee. This is a streamlined approach versus the traditional UDRP process.

Under the plan announced today, Afilias will allow the Challenge Process to take its course, enabling legitimate trademark owners to obtain their names. If suspicious names remain, they will be reviewed for challenge directly by Afilias. If successfully challenged, they will be equitably returned to public availability after the completion of the Sunrise Challenge period.

This is the first time in the history of the domain name system (DNS) that applications have been accepted and processed using a Sunrise mechanism to help protect intellectual property from cybersquatting and other abuses. We are grateful for the assistance of the Internet community, which has provided specific examples of questionable registrations.

Afilias has now successfully processed four queues of Sunrise registrations. We remain highly confident in the process as we migrate to real-time registration for the balance of the Sunrise Period. Afilias encourages all trademark holders to act before August 27 to take advantage of this unique opportunity to register their mark in the .INFO domain. A list of worldwide Afilias-authorized registrars to which requests can be submitted can be found at http://www.info.info/get.