Suit Seeks to Block VRSN-ICANN Deal
Date: Tuesday November 29 2005, @04:23AM
Topic: Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions

According to eWeek, parties in the domain name business are suing in federal court to block the ICANN-VRSN deal on anti-trust grounds, claiming it is a form of price fixing. (Interestingly, the article seems to suggest that they have filed an independent lawsuit rather than intervening in the ongoing case. I'm unclear as to why this is, although I suspect it is jurisdictional.) Here's the quote:

World of Domain Name Developers Inc., asked the court to stop the nonprofit body overseeing the Internet's addressing system—the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN—from allowing VeriSign Inc. to maintain control of the lucrative ".com" domain until 2012.

That proposed deal reached in October settled a long-running dispute between ICANN and VeriSign and is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose Monday, said the proposed settlement violates federal laws against price fixing and creates a monolopy of the ".com" and ".net" domain name markets.

Plaintiffs' attorney Patrick Cathcart said the settlement fixes the price of registering any ".com" or ".net" far above market rates. He also said terms of the settlement guarantee VeriSign annual price increases at double the rate of inflation.

This may be a good time to point out that Froomkin & Lemley's ICANN & Anti-Trust, 2003 ILL. L. REV. 1, is available for download...

[UPDATE: Press Release announcing the law suit.]

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