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Afilias Starts Challenge of .INFO Names

Over 700 .INFO Sunrise registrations have been challenged

NEWTOWN, PA - January 17, 2002 - Afilias announced Thursday that it has submitted its first set of challenges against names that may have been inappropriately registered during the .INFO Sunrise period. Through the Sunrise Challenge process, managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the registrants of these names will now need to produce proof of their valid trademark in order to maintain the registration of the domain name.

"Our Sunrise Process was designed to enable trademark holders to protect their intellectual property during the launch of the .INFO domain," said Roland LaPlante, Chief Marketing Officer of Afilias. "We have believed from the outset that the challenge provisions built into the process would enable us to eliminate names that might be inappropriately registered. Those provisions will now be put to work by our Challenge Task Force, which will execute a series of bulk challenges against names that may have been inappropriately registered.

Afilias' Challenge Task Force is currently finalizing an review of all Sunrise names. In doing so, it is working closely with the United States Patent and Trademark Office trademark database, the U.K. Patent Office, intellectual property counsel in Germany, concerned Internet citizens, and other resources around the world. As a result of this work, Afilias will submit additional challenges to WIPO over the coming weeks.

"Afilias is committed to returning ineligible Sunrise names to the general public", said LaPlante. "Our task force will continue its review and expects to challenge thousands of additional names in the coming weeks. "