nettime's_roving_reporter on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 22:36:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> sues ICANN over 189 TLDs

Company files for injunction against 189 new gTLDs

   Kevin Murphy, October 12, 2012, 21:48:52 (UTC), in

   Alternate root player Name.Space has sued ICANN for trademark
   infringement and anti-competitive behavior, saying "insiders" have
   conspired to keep it out of the new gTLD program.

   If successful, the suit would prevent dozens of new gTLD applicants
   from having their applications approved.

   The lawsuit, filed in California this week, follows a warning the
   company fired at ICANN this March.

   While only ICANN is named as a defendant, the suit alleges that the new
   gTLD program was crafted by and is dominated by "ICANN insiders" and
   "industry titans".

   It wants an injunction preventing ICANN delegating any of the 189 gTLD
   strings that it claims it has rights to.

   It also fingers several current and former ICANN directors, including
   current and former chairs Steve Crocker and Peter Dengate Thrush, over
   their alleged conflicts of interest.

   Name.Space has been operating 482 diverse TLDs -- such as .news,
   .sucks, and .mail -- in a lightly used alternate root system since

   Most people can't access these zones and are unaware that they exist.

   The company applied to have 118 of these strings added to the root in
   ICANN's "proof of concept" gTLD expansion in 2000, when the application
   fee was $50,000, but was unsuccessful.

   Now, the company claims the new gTLD program is "an attack on's business model and a mean by which to create and maintain
   market power in the TLD markets".

   The complaint (pdf) states:

     Rather than adopting a procedure to account for the pending 2000
     Application and facilitate the expansion of TLD providers in the
     DNS, ICANN has adopted a procedure so complex and expensive that it
     once again effectively prohibited newcomers from competing. It
     instead has permitted participation solely by ICANN insiders and
     industry titans.

   If it had applied for all 118 again in this year's round, it would have
   cost almost $22 million (though it would have qualified for an $83,000
   discount on a single bid).

   Name.Space is asking for damages and an injunction preventing ICANN
   from approving 189 gTLDs that match those it currently operates in its
   alternate root.

   The full list of affected applications is attached to the complaint.

   (c) 2010-2012 TLD Research Ltd

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