Web.com subsidiary gets patent for Whois Privacy, as compared to Whois Proxy.
GoDaddy has patents for domain name proxy services. Now a competitor, Web.com’s Network Solutions, has a patent for Whois privacy.
U.S. Patent #9,817,979 (pdf) for Private domain name registration covers Whois privacy in which a domain is registered in the name of the actual registrant but the contact details (email address, phone and postal address) are that of the privacy service.
GoDaddy’s service Domains By Proxy is technically a proxy service instead of privacy. Domains By Proxy is the technical owner of the domain name acting on the customer’s behalf.
As Web.com (NASDAQ:WEB) points out in its application, proxy services can create challenges when transferring domain names. The proxy service needs to be removed for a transfer to another registrar. Privacy, on the other hand, keeps the registrant’s name in the record and domains can still be transferred.
The company applied for a similar patent in 2004 but abandoned it. This issued patent was filed in May 2012.