DNSSEC incompetence at GoDaddy

Clipboard01DNSSEC is an important protocol by which DNS zone records are cryptographically signed.  The protocol permits an internet user to be confident that a particular web site is what it purports to be rather than a fake or substitute web site created by an intermeddler or wrongdoer.  The protocol also offers many other benefits too numerous to discuss here in detail.

I use GoDaddy for hosting of this blog and I use GoDaddy to provide DNSSEC protection for the blog.  Unfortunately GoDaddy has implemented DNSSEC in a way that does not work well with the way that it provides blog hosting.  This has led to three intervals in the past year during which the DNSSEC protection did not work for the domain blog.oppedahl.com.  The result has been that some visitors (those whose connection to the Internet is sophisticated enough to make use of the protection offered by DNSSEC) have been unable to visit the blog web site during those intervals.

In technical terms, what GoDaddy has screwed up during those three intervals is that it has stopped providing DS records for blog.oppedahl.com in the oppedahl.com zone file.

It is a big disappointment that GoDaddy did not fix the bug in its implementation of DNSSEC after the first failure, which was about a year ago.  When that first failure happened a year ago, it looks as though GoDaddy fixed the problem manually, by manually re-inserting the all-important DS records into the zone file.  But did not correct the underlying problem, which is that GoDaddy’s DNS setup for blog.oppedahl.com is fragile and breaks at the slightest provocation, like changing some other record in the zone file.

Then around eight months ago some change that should have been harmless led once again to GoDaddy failing to provide DS records for blog.oppedahl.com in the oppedabl.com zone file.  GoDaddy eventually got the DS records back into place, but again apparently only due to some manual update.  GoDaddy’s mistakes in implementing DNSSEC generally remained uncorrected.

Three days ago the fragility of GoDaddy’s implementation of DNSSEC revealed itself again, because once again GoDaddy stopped providing DS records for blog.oppedahl.com.  What’s frustrating with GoDaddy is that when I try to explain the problem (the blog.oppedahl.com subdomain lacks any DS records), the response from the GoDaddy tech support person is the telephone equivalent of a deer in the headlights.

The image above, from VeriSign’s DNS Analyzer, shows that GoDaddy is to blame.

Anyway after something like the fourth call to GoDaddy tech support in three days, I finally reached someone who understood the problem.  And supposedly GoDaddy’s “advanced tech support” will now manually re-insert the missing DS records into the zone file.

Of course what needs to happen is that GoDaddy needs to correct its implementation of DNSSEC so that it handles subdomains (such as blog.oppedahl.com) reliably rather than in a fragile way.

So anyway if you have been unable to reach this blog during the past three days, that’s why.


Where to send a USPTO patent petition?

In the old days (meaning, before e-filing at the USPTO became possible), the practitioner who was filing a petition would simply drop the petition in the mail, directed to the USPTO generally.  Someone in the USPTO mail room would look at each petition, and would pick where exactly within the USPTO to direct the petition so that it might be considered and decided.

Then the Internet happened and a decade later, the USPTO reacted to the Internet by setting up EFS-Web.  In EFS-Web the burden of figuring out where exactly within USPTO a patent-related petition would be directed got shifted away from USPTO mail room personnel and onto the e-filer.  The choices from which the patent e-filer might pick include:

    • Petition for review by the Office of Petitions
    • Petition for review by the PCT legal office
    • Petition for review by the Technology Center SPRE

When you are e-filing a petition, how should you pick where to send your petition?

Continue reading “Where to send a USPTO patent petition?”

A new category of walking-corpse US patents?

(Update:  USPTO is doing a very customer-friendly thing about this, as I report here.)

One of the scariest things for a US patent practitioner is the thought of being held responsible for a patent that turns out to have been a “walking corpse”. A patent that everybody thought was a normal patent and it turns out that there is some defect that means it was never actually a patent at all.

My favorite category of “walking-corpse” patent had, until now, been the patent that was granted on a patent application in which the applicant made a non-publication request, and then did foreign filing, and failed to timely rescind the non-publication request. The rules say that such a patent application is deemed abandoned some 46 days after the foreign filing happened. But probably nobody involved at the time knew that the status of the application was “abandoned”. Not the Examiner, not the USPTO employee who cheerfully collected the Issue Fee and mailed out the ribbon copy of the granted patent. Least of all the practitioner who forgot about rescinding the non-pub request and who triumphantly handed the ribbon copy of the patent to the client. Likely as not, the first time this defect would get noticed is at litigation time.

Anyway until now that was my favorite example of a “walking corpse” US patent. But it looks like maybe there’s now a new category of walking-corpse US patents.  Continue reading “A new category of walking-corpse US patents?”

MTB XI – the photographs

Last night was Meet the Bloggers XI.  Yes, the eleventh annual reception.  Henry’s Pub, the same restaurant in San Diego where the first and original Meet the Bloggers took place ten years ago, was closed to the public for the night for this special event.  Meet the Bloggers XI In this exterior shot of the restaurant you can see maybe half of the people who attended this reception.

20150504_211441 In this shot you can see Erik Pelton giving out some of the door prizes.

Continue reading “MTB XI – the photographs”

“out of the office until May 8th”?

Send an email today to a trademark practitioner located anywhere in the world, and likely as not you will receive an automatic reply like this:

Hello. I am out of the office until May 8 with limited access to email.  If this matter is urgent please contact my assistant so-and-so …

The reason, of course, is that the email recipient is in San Diego right now.  As am I.  If you are in San Diego and want to see me this week, the best way to do it is to drop by one of these two receptions.