Patent Filed for “SafeMode” Top-Level Domain Name Transition – Domain Name Wire

The patent describes a method of 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 Transition.”

The patent application describes a method of transitioning top-level domains from one registry operator to another. One aspect of the patent is that a namespace can be put into “safe mode” during the transition so that no new changes are made to the zone during the transfer. The summary states:

Methods for transitioning an existing Registry Operator’s TLD to a new Registry Operator’s new TLD, the new TLD subsequently accessible over a communications network, the existing TLD having a non operational or an operational area. 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 provide a respective part of the existing registry data; aggregate the respective portions of the existing registry data to generate new registry data for the new TLD; generate new zone data for the new TLD; in a first mode publishing the new zone data to nodes of a DNS (domain name system), the first mode disabling the functionality of writing the new zone data while facilitating the querying of the new zone data ; and publishing in a second mode the new zone data to the DNS nodes, the second mode facilitating the functionality of writing the new zone data, including querying and updating 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 communication network.

All three inventors listed worked for Afilias when the patent was filed in 2020, but the patent does not list Afilias as an assignee. The claim was filed just days before Identity Digital (then Donuts) finalized its acquisition of Afilias, so it’s possible this claim could be attributed to Identity Digital.