Domain Registrants Not Third-Party Beneficiaries Of NSF-NSI Pact
Date: Friday September 21 2001, @05:57AM
Topic: Verisign/NSI

According to a story in the BNA E-Commerce Daily, the US District Court in New Jersey has ruled (in an unpublished opinion) that a domain name registrant is not "a third-party beneficiary" to the cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and Network Solutions Inc. under which NSI provided Internet registration services oin the pre-ICANN days.

So what, you ask? What that means is that only the signatories to that cooperative agreement (i.e. the NSF) can enforce NSI's duties under the agreement, not private parties (even though those private parties may have been affected by a breach of those duties by NSI).

Eric Dluhos, a graduate of the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, registered the domain name with NSI on June 25, 1999. CMG Worldwide Inc. managed Internet sites for the estate of Lee Strasberg and the Lee Strasberg defendants. CM filed a UDRP complaint with the National Arbitration Forum, arguing that Dluhos's use of infringed their trademark in "Actor by Lee Strasberg." On Oct. 2, 1999, the NAF panel ruled against Dluhos and ordered him to transfer the domain name to CMG Worldwide.

Dluhos filed suit, claiming, among other things, that the NSI-NSF Cooperative Agreement imposed a duty upon NSI to implement registration policies in a "fair and evenhanded manner," and that NSI had breached this duty by adopting a dispute resolution policy that "does not require a challenger to make even a colorable allegation of trademark infringement or other legal basis pursuant to which a court could order the domain name transferred."

The court ruled that Dluhos had no standing to raise this claim because he was neither a party to the NSI-NSF contract nor a third-party beneficiary to that contract. The court held that Dluhos had to show that NSF and NSI intended that he, and the general public, directly benefit from the cooperative agreement in order for him to be considered a third party beneficiary, and that because the cooperative agreement did not show "a clear intent" to confer a benefit directly upon domain name registrants, Dluhos lacked standing to enforce the agreement

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Re: Domain Registrants Not Third-Party Beneficiari
by PMaggs (p-maggs @ uiuc . edu) on Friday September 21 2001, @06:54AM (#2454)
User #3061 Info
A similar case decided last year is REGISTER.COM, INC. V. VERIO, INC., 126 F.Supp.2d 238 (2000). won by citing the following clause in its accreditation agreement with ICANN: "No Third-Party Beneficiaries. This Agreement shall not be construed to create any obligation by either ICANN or Registrar to any non-party to this agreement, including any SLD holder." Does anybody know if there are similar clauses in the agreements for the registrars in .biz and .info?
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