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    Verisign/NSI Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions
    Is VeriSign Contemplating a Sherman Act Claim Against ICANN?
    posted by michael on Wednesday October 08 2003, @01:14PM

    An astute reader writes, "Did you look at Verisign's formal response to ICANN? In paras 3, 5, and 6 it looks to me like they are setting up a counter-claim against ICANN under the Sherman Act."

    Hmmm.



    There is something quite rich about the idea that VeriSign would sue ICANN for anti-competitive behavior over SiteFinder or anything else. It's true that ICANN has been guilty of horribly anti-competitive behavior in the TLD space -- but the main beneficiary of ICANN's failure to provide for a competitive suite of gTLDs has surely been VeriSign which has as a result enjoyed a de facto monopoly on the sole important business registry, .com.

    Could VeriSign make out a case again ICANN under the Sherman Act? The claim would be 'restraint of trade' rather then classic monopolization. And I have to say that I don't think it would fly. ICANN's first line of defense would be that what it was doing was justified by technical necessity. This isn't a dead certitude for ICANN, since other registries have been doing what VeriSign did for years, and no one raised a peep of protest....but these other registries did it, mostly, before their users subscribed to it, and there's no claim floating around that anyone had their expectations damaged, or that applications were breaking is sufficiently large numbers for anyone to notice.

    So, I don't think I'd look for VeriSign to raise this issue on its own. As a counter-claim it might have some value, if only to sensitize a court to the possibility that there are two sides to the issue. I do think that ICANN, has anti-trust exposure, and even more emphatically that those who lobby ICANN to act anti-competitively face real risks. It's hard to say, though, in this case who is being more anti-competitive, ICANN or VeriSign.

     
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      Related Links  
    · Dr. Paul Twomey
    · VeriSign/NSI
    · ICANN
    · anti-trust exposure
    · formal response to ICANN? In paras 3, 5, and 6 it looks to me like they are setting up a counter-claim against ICANN under the Sherman Act." Hmmm.
    · More Verisign/NSI stories
    · Also by michael
     
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    Is VeriSign Contemplating a Sherman Act Claim Against ICANN? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 5 comments | Search Discussion
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    Sherman Act
    by rhill on Thursday October 09 2003, @12:10AM (#12431)
    User #3320 Info | http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/
    The Sherman Act is the basic US anti-trust law, which prohibits things such as price fixing, collusion amongst competitors to "carve out" markets, etc.

    The European Union equivalent is Art. 85 and 86.

    This is pretty complicated stuff, you can find an analysis in all EU languages at:

    http://europa.eu.int/information_society/topics/te lecoms/regulatory/maindocs/index_en.htm

    Scroll down to the two documents:

    11 February 2003 - Recommendation on Relevant Markets.
    Commission Recommendation On Relevant Product and Service Markets within the electronic communications sector susceptible to ex ante regulation in accordance with Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on a common regulatory framework for electronic communication networks and services. C(2003)497

    and

    11 July 2002 - Commission guidelines on market analysis and the assessment of significant market power under the Community regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (2002/C 165/03).
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