VeriSign Takes ICANN to State Court

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.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead 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.

/zimages/1/28571.gifRead 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.

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