Patent issued today covers forwarding one domain name to another.
Domain forwarding, a.k.a. URL forwarding.
Every domain registrar offers it, and most give it away for free to their customers.
Type in DNW.com and get forwarded to DomainNameWire.com.
Pretty simple, right?
Did you know that Network Solutions has a patent for “Apparatus and method for web forwarding”?
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent (pdf) to Network Solutions for a way of forwarding domain names. It’s a continuation patent based on one Network Solutions filed in 2000 and was granted in 2008, which itself was based on a provisional filing from 1999.
Back then the purpose of URL forwarding, as explained in the patent application, was to help companies and individuals that had set up free hosting accounts with ISPs and service providers. These free services often came with long and confusing URLs (remember Angelfire? Geocities?). Once a site owner realized they needed an easier-to-use URL, they might want to forward that URL to the site with the awkward URL.