ICANN Wins a Round in Wait List Case

A federal judge denies a preliminary injunction that would have prevented ICANN and VeriSign from moving ahead on service for back ordering domain names.

The overseer of the Internets domain names gained a legal victory this week in a case challenging its approval of a Web address back-order service being created by VeriSign Inc.

A federal judge earlier this week denied a preliminary injunction against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. ICANN has given preliminary approval to VeriSigns plans to launch a wait list service, which would allow those seeking a particular domain name to pay for the right to claim it in the event the current registration expires. The plaintiffs in the case—registrars Dotster Inc., Go Daddy Software Inc and eNom Inc.—were seeking to prevent ICANN from completing its approval of VeriSigns service. VeriSign, of Mountain View, Calif. is the registry that manages Web addresses in the two most popular domain, .com and .net.

An ICANN spokeswoman on Friday said that ICANN and VeriSign are continuing to negotiate terms of the service and that no date has been set for its launch.

The three registrar in the lawsuit against ICANN have competing wait list services and had claimed in seeking a preliminary injunction that ICANNs approval of VeriSigns service was anti-competitive and violated ICANNs agreements with registrars.

U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter disagreed, ruling that "the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate either the possibility of irreparable injury or that the balance of hardships tips sharply in their favor in his ruling."

The case, filed in July, is expected to go to trial in the first quarter of 2004.