Interview with Bart Lieben

.CO.NO is one of the first domain projects that embraces the ClearingHouse for Intellectual Property (“CHIP”) in the context of its launch process. In order to provide .CO.NO registrars with a better understanding, we have been talking to Bart Lieben, counsel with the law firm of Crowell & Moring and the principle architect of CHIP.

Q: What is CHIP?
Bart: CHIP is a revolutionary system and service aimed at assisting brand owners in securing and safeguarding their trademark rights on the Internet, and more in particular in the domain name space. CHIP intends to support brand owners in the context of a wide variety of rights protection mechanisms that are put in place by, for instance, domain name registries and policy-making bodies.

Q: What are the actual benefits of CHIP?
Bart: CHIP offers many benefits to brand owners, registrars and registries in the context of rights protection mechanisms. The most important ones are:
1. Brand owners and their registrars can obtain up-front information and certainty on whether or not their trademarks meet the requirements laid down in the rights protection policies that are designed by the respective domain name registries that are using CHIP;
2. During past rights protection processes, many claims made by brand owners were rejected due to the fact that the information submitted to the respective domain name registry was incorrect. With CHIP, it will be virtually impossible to submit erroneous data to the respective domain name registry;
3. The costs for brand owners who are using CHIP will be significantly reduced: there is no need for validating their rights for each and every new project proposed by a domain name registry. That is why there will be only one charge for the validation of trademark data, regardless of how many registries sign up with CHIP in the course of this year. In this respect, CHIP is working with the .SO Registry, who will launch .SO, .COM.SO, .NET.SO, and .ORG.SO at the same time as CoDNS is launching .CO.NO. And there are a number of other projects that will follow;
4. The administrative burden on domain name registrars and registries will be lowered, and centralized with the independent validation agents appointed by CHIP.

In brief, CHIP intends to remove all complexities from Sunrise or launch processes, and centralize them within a proven validation system, operated by experienced experts in intellectual property rights.

Q: Who can use CHIP and how?
Bart: Currently, only registrars accredited with CHIP as well as registries can use the full functionality of CHIP. This can be done through web interfaces, an XML/EPP interface, a bulk trademark data upload facility. But also the public at large is able to look up (for free) which trademarks are contained in CHIP, and this through a public search function, namely CHIP’s WHOHAS database.

Q: Where can we find CHIP?
Bart: CHIP is located at

Becoming a CHIP Accredited Registrar:
Please complete and sign the CHIP Accreditation Agreement, and send a scanned copy thereof to: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

According to CHIP’s website, the fee structure for obtaining a validation is as follows:
1. standard fee: USD 70 per domain name, regardless of the number of initiatives in which the trademark owner would like to obtain a domain name registration. This means that the owner of the “ABC” trademark can use CHIP for submitting IP claims in connection with,,, and by paying USD 70 to CHIP;
2. reduced fee: USD 40 if a particular domain name in .CO has already been validated through CHIP in the context of the .CO Sunrise process.

Additional fees and expenses may be imposed by the .SO Registry and CoDNS for actually receiving and processing domain name applications, and registering domain names in their respective extensions or second-level domains. In principle, there will be no additional charge imposed by CHIP for any other initiative launched until the end of 2010.

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