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IPC Comments Regarding the WLS

Submitted: 18 January 2002

Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) Comments
Regarding the Proposed Wait Listing Service (WLS)


TO: Chuck Gomes, Verisign Global Registry Services
FM: Steve Metalitz, IPC president
RE: VGRS Domain Name Wait Listing Service
DT: January 18, 2002

Dear Chuck:

I am writing to communicate some questions and concerns raised by members of the leadership of the Intellectual Property Constituency based on their preliminary review of the December 30, 2001 summary of the Wait Listing Service (WLS). We ask Verisign Global Registry Services (VGRS) to respond to these issues before taking further steps toward implementation of the WLS.

(1) Inaccurate or stale contact data: Because a wait list subscriber would not actually become a domain name registrant until sometime after his contact data was collected at the time of subscription - perhaps not till some years after - there is a high probability that this contact data would be obsolete by the time the subscriber became a registrant and the data was entered into the Whois database. To address this problem, and to minimize the likelihood of false data appearing in Whois with respect to registrations that arise from the WLS, registrars should be required to verify previously submitted contact data of subscribers upon the expiration of the previous domain name registration, but prior to transferring the domain name registrations to the subscriber. Would Verisign consider imposing this requirement as part of the WLS, or should ICANN be asked to impose it under its contractual authority to require registrars to take specified measures to achieve adequate Whois data quality?

(2) Interface between WLS and UDRP: What assurances can Verisign provide that under the WLS, a domain name registration that is cancelled as the result of a UDRP proceeding will not be awarded to the wait list subscriber for that domain name, rather than to the UDRP complainant? Unless adequate assurances can be given, the WLS could undermine the integrity of the UDRP.

(3) Disclosure of WLS subscribers: If the identity of WLS subscribers is made public or is disclosed to the registrant of the domain name in question, the potential value of the WLS for intellectual property owners would be substantially diminished. For example, a bad-faith registrant would have an incentive to continue renewing the registration if it knew that the owner of a trademark identical to that domain name was the wait list subscriber for it and would receive it automatically if the registration expired. (Indeed, there is some concern that even disclosing the fact that a wait list subscription exists would create this perverse incentive.) The December 30 paper is unclear on whether registrars would be allowed or required to make such disclosures. Please clarify whether VGRS would prohibit such disclosures as part of the WLS.

(4) Impact on competition: Competition now exists for services similar to that offered by the WLS. A number of IPC members are customers of such services. What would be the impact on this competition if the registry were to offer WLS ?

(5) Auto-renewal: VGRS proposes that auto-renewal be available to subscribers in the WLS. Please explain how this auto-renewal system would operate in practice.

Your timely responses to these questions could greatly facilitate a full evaluation of the WLS proposal by members of the IPC leadership. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

cc: Rick Wesson
Louis Touton

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