VeriSign Takes ICANN to State Court

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-08-30 Print this article Print

With its federal antitrust case thrown out, VeriSign sues the Internet oversight body for breach of contract in California.

VeriSign Inc. is continuing its legal fight against the main overseer of the Internets domain-name system, despite the dismissal last week of its federal lawsuit against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Fulfilling its promise to sue again, VeriSign this time sued in state court and with a focus on breach-of-contract allegations. VeriSign, the registry managing the .com and .net domains, filed the lawsuit Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, a company spokesman confirmed Monday. Last week, a federal judge rejected VeriSigns antitrust claim against ICANN, a claim required for the case to move forward in federal court.
Read more here about the rejection in federal court of VeriSigns earlier claim.
In the state lawsuit, VeriSign is accusing ICANN of violating the terms of the 2001 .com registry agreement between the two organizations by blocking or interfering with VeriSigns attempts to start new registry services. Claims of breach of contract had also been part of the federal suit, but Judge A. Howard Matz of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California declined to consider them after throwing out the antitrust claim. As in the federal suit, VeriSign listed SiteFinder among the services being disrupted. Introduced in September 2003, SiteFinder caused controversy because it redirected users entering misspelled or unregistered domain names to a VeriSign-run search site. VeriSign suspended it in October following pressure from ICANN. Also cited are the wait listing service for back-ordering registered domain names and internationalized domain names to support non-English characters, among other services. Read more here about the wait listing services uncertain future. "ICANNs unjustified and overreaching efforts over a three-year period to regulate services that VeriSign offers to registrars and domain name registrants … has delayed and otherwise impeded the introduction of new services by VeriSign," the company alleges in its filing. ICANN officials declined to comment on the state lawsuit. In past statements, the nonprofit has defended its actions and sought the dismissal of VeriSigns claims. VeriSign is seeking a preliminary and a permanent injunction to prohibit ICANN from restricting, delaying or interfering in new registry services that it seeks to offer, as well as unspecified damages. It also is asking the state court to order ICANN to abide by the terms of the registry agreement that VeriSign alleges are being ignored. Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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