Company awarded divisional patent covering business of expired domains and domain monitoring.
Expired domain name service SnapNames, a subsidiary of Oversee.net, has been awarded U.S. Patent number 7,472,160, covering a broad array of expired domain services. The patent is a divisional patent filing that continues several filings made by the company earlier this decade.
Among the areas of invention covered include:
Domain monitoring and acquisition – monitoring domain names for any changes to the domain name record, such as a change in owner, nameserver, or status. This could also be used to re-acquire an expired domain on behalf of the previous owner if he fails to renew it.
Domain Name Deletion and Registrability Timing – essentially grabbing expiring domains
Auction Tagger – compiling data about the demand of a domain, such as the number of backorder requests or domain availability searches at registrars. This information can be used to determine demand for the domain.
Direct Transfer – SnapNames has direct relationships with many registrars to automatically receive their inventory of expired domains instead of having to catch the domains as they expire. The patent states:
…n the second mechanism, partnerships or contractual agreements can be entered into with the various registrars. As part of these relationships, each registrar can give operators of the present invention a right of first refusal to register a name that becomes available for registration or transfer. For example, a registrar cannotify an interested entity that a registrant will not be renewing a registration and the name will become available. As one option, the name can be renewed before it is purged and transferred to the interested entity. This ensures that no third party will be able to register a recently-available name before an operator of the present invention has an opportunity to do so.
SnapNames’ patents seem to give the company a lot of power against competitors such as NameJet and Pool.com.