Patent for domain purchasing system granted ten years after application was filed.
Network Solutions, now part of Web.com, has received a patent for its Certified Offer service…ten years after applying for it.
Network Solutions applied for the patent titled “Certified Offer Service for Domain Names” back in 2004. It was rejected multiple times, but the company successfully amended and appealed.
The service lets customers make an offer on a domain name that is already registered. The patent explains that the first step of the service is providing an automated appraisal to the customer to give them an idea of how much the domain is worth. The customer then makes an offer and Network Solutions tries to verify that the buyer has enough funds to pay for the domain if the offer is accepted. (As I’ve found, this isn’t always the case). Network Solutions then emails the domain owner (presumably using contact information in WHOIS) to present the offer to them.
The company charges an initial offer fee as well as a commission on the purchase price.
The patent (pdf) covers many aspects of the Certified Offer service as it’s currently run today. I tried to verify all of the steps, but they seem to be having technical difficulties right now as the service keeps hanging up when I submit a domain.