Patent describes a method for transferring top level domains from one registry operator to another.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has published patent application 17/126103 (pdf) for “SafeMode management of domain transitioning.”
The patent application describes a way of transitioning top level domains from one registry operator to another. One aspect of the patent is that a namespace can be put in “safe mode” during the transition so that no new changes are made to the zone during the transfer. The abstract states:
Methods for transitioning an existing TLD from an existing registry operator to a new TLD of a new registry operator, the new TLD subsequently accessible over a communications network, the existing TLD having a non-operational zone or an operational zone. The method includes: collecting existing registry data for the existing TLD from a plurality of registrars associated with one or more domain names of the existing TLD, such that each of the plurality of registrars provides a respective portion of the existing registry data; aggregating the respective portions of the existing registry data to generate new registry data for the new TLD; generating new zone data for the new TLD; publishing in a first mode the new zone data to nodes of a DNS (Domain Name System), the first mode disabling write functionality of the new zone data while facilitating querying of the new zone data; and publishing in a second mode the new zone data to the nodes of the DNS, the second mode facilitating the write functionality of the new zone data, including the querying and updating of the new zone data, the new zone data of the second mode considered as an operational zone; wherein the new zone data and the new registry data in the first mode as well as in the second mode are accessible by the plurality of registrars over the communications network.
All three listed inventors worked for Afilias when the patent was filed in 2020, but the patent doesn’t list Afilias as the assignee. The application was filed just days before Identity Digital (then Donuts) completed its acquisition of Afilias, so it’s possible that this application will be assigned to Identity Digital.