[ALAC] Possible ALAC Statement and Call for Comments re Verisign's Patent Application on Domain Name Transfers

Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com
Wed Oct 10 00:27:51 UTC 2012

Dear All,

This is still *Draft* but outlines my views on the threat to DNSSEC and
what I think ICANN should and can do about it:

*A Perspective on the Patent Application on Domain Name Transfers published
by the United States Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) and its Impact
on An Open and Free Internet*

* *

*Threats to an Open and Free Internet*

As the battle rages over threats to the Internet architecture, a recent
publication over the Patent Application for Domain Name
Verisign is disturbing for those who advocate an open and free
The Application is based on an immediate and direct threat towards an open
and free Internet. Just in case people are tempted to think that this was a
prank given that they filed it on the 1 April 2011, searches at the United
States Patents and Trademark Office

(USPTO) reveals that this is a legitimate

*Patenting the Internet*

It was not all that long ago that the Director General of the World
Intellectual Property Gurry had during a Forum suggested that the Internet
would have been better off it was

*An Assault against the IETF*

This Patent Application also appears to be an assault on the Internet
Engineering Task Force and on the governance systems for creating Internet
Draft on Changing DNS Operators under DNSSEC in the first version was
published on March 7,
 There is prior art as shown by the existence of the Internet Draft and
subsequent amendments with the latest revision being March 11, 2012.

*Possible Grounds for Objection*

There are two possible grounds for objections to be raised in this Patent

1.    Existence of prior Art;

2.    Non-functionality of the Invention;

3.    Antithesis to the Affirmation of Commitment between the United States
Department of Commerce and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and

There are also the antitrust and competition issues that unfold were the
Patent to be granted to Verisign. At this juncture, it is important to
raise that the United States Department of Commerce (USDoC) oversees both
the United States Patents and Trademarks Organisation (USPTO) and the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). As such, the
Affirmation of Commitments
the USDoC and ICANN is critical in this regard.

See excerpt from the AoC below:

“2. The Internet is a transformative technology that will continue to
empower people around the globe, spur innovation, facilitate trade and
commerce, and enable the free and unfettered flow of information. One of
the elements of the Internet's success is a highly decentralized network
that enables and encourages decision-making at a local level.
Notwithstanding this decentralization, global technical coordination of the
Internet's underlying infrastructure - the DNS - is required to ensure

3. This document affirms key commitments by DOC and ICANN, including
commitments to: (a) ensure that decisions made related to the global
technical coordination of the DNS are made in the public interest and are
accountable and transparent; (b) preserve the security, stability and
resiliency of the DNS; (c) promote competition, consumer trust, and
consumer choice in the DNS marketplace; and (d) facilitate international
participation in DNS technical coordination.

4. DOC affirms its commitment to a multi-stakeholder, private sector led,
bottom-up policy development model for DNS technical coordination that acts
for the benefit of global Internet users. A private coordinating process,
the outcomes of which reflect the public interest, is best able to flexibly
meet the changing needs of the Internet and of Internet users. ICANN
and DOC recognize
that there is a group of participants that engage in ICANN's processes to a
greater extent than Internet users generally. To ensure that its decisions
are in the public interest, and not just the interests of a particular set
of stakeholders, ICANN commits to perform and publish analyses of the
positive and negative effects of its decisions on the public, including any
financial impact on the public, and the positive or negative impact (if
any) on the systemic security, stability and resiliency of the DNS.”

It is clear that the Internet being a highly decentralized network, global
technical coordination of the DNS to ensure interoperability and to ensure
that decisions made in this regard are made in the public interest should
be accountable and transparent and are to preserve the security, stability
and resiliency of the DNS and promote competition, consumer trust, and
consumer choice in the DNS marketplace aside from facilitating
international participation in DNS Technical coordination.

*ICANN should initiate an Expedited Study and Analysis*

It would follow that we can examine Verisign’s Patent Application in light
of the AoC. It follows that ICANN should commit to perform and publish
analysis of both the positive and negative effects of Verisign’s Patent
Application on Domain Name Transfers.

*An Antithesis to Competition and Consumer Trust*

There have been preliminary analysis and views rendered that give credence
to the need for an expedited analysis and report on the matter given the
fact that Verisign’s Patent Application was published on October 4, 2012.
There are some who feel that were Verisign to be granted the Patent, that
Verisign would have the monopoly on signing the Digital
This would indicate that this would be the antithesis of the principles of
competition, consumer trust and consumer choice that are espoused within
the AoC.

*Prior Art*

The fact that the Internet Draft predated the Petition Application is proof
that prior art existed as discussed previously.

*Non-Functionality of the Patent Application*

* *

Critics of the Patent Application have pointed to the non-functionality of
the Application. A comparative
the existing Internet Draft and Verisign’s Patent Application by
Gurvitz points to non-functionality aspects of the invention, see excerpt

“The problem with Verisign "invention" is that after we change the NS
records (step S1060) and some resolver have an old RRSIG in it's cache and
the DNSKEY is already expired from the cache, what will happen is that the
recursive resolver will query the new authoritative servers for the
DNSKEYrecords and will get the new DNSKEY RRset without the old ZSK (that
is the invention). What we end up with is an RRSIG signed with the old
DNSKEY, andthe new DNSKEY RRset (which have no old DNSKEY - that is the
invention). Recursive resolver will not be able to validate the RSSIG, and
DNSSEC validation will fail. The domain will not validate and therefore it
will not be accessible. The same story repeats itself for a case where only
the DNS hosting provider is switched (and not the registrar) - paragraphs
[0070]…[0075], adding another mistake at [0075] c. - Verisign suggests to
change the nameservers and then immediately "Remove losing hosting provider
DS record". But what if some recursive resolver have RRSIG and DNSKEY in
it's cache, while the DS record is already expired ? - The resolver will
receive the new DS only and the domain will fail to validate again.”

* *

* *

*The Danger of Patenting*

The danger of patenting any aspect of the Internet architecture and in this
instance Domain Name Transfers is that it opens a precedent for patenting
the Internet and would be an immediate threat to an open and free Internet
which is necessary to enable innovation and access. It would be incumbent
on ICANN to conduct a study to look into the advantages and disadvantages
and the impact on the DNSSEC given the preliminary issues that have already
been raised.

*Global End Users Must Have Their Say*

The USPTO should not grant Verisign this Patent because there is already an
Internet Draft that exists in this
End Users can have their say through the US Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) along with the Stack Exchange and Google have designed a mechanism
to enable objectors to send their views and


No. 13/078, 643 in





Welsh in his Blog Red Nectar, see:




On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 11:02 AM, Salanieta T. Tamanikaiwaimaro <
salanieta.tamanikaiwaimaro at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear ALAC,
> What are your thoughts about discussion on the subject and a possible ALAC
> Statement on the matter?
> Kind Regards,
> --
> Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro aka Sala
> P.O. Box 17862
> Suva
> Fiji
> Twitter: @SalanietaT
> Skype:Salanieta.Tamanikaiwaimaro
> Fiji Cell: +679 998 2851

Salanieta Tamanikaiwaimaro aka Sala
P.O. Box 17862

Twitter: @SalanietaT
Fiji Cell: +679 998 2851

More information about the ALAC mailing list