Domain registrar Network
Solutions Inc. this week said an Indiana judge’s May 7 decision to
exempt the company from antitrust liability will make the company “immune” from future antitrust lawsuits over its domain registration services.
Bruce Watts’s case against NSI was based on a challenge to NSI’s
“first-come, first-serve” registration policy, which Watts claimed failed to prevent “cybersquatting” and therefore violated laws of
Watts’s dispute arose over the registration of the domain name
birthdayballoons.com, when another party got the name first.
U.S. District Court Judge Hamilton granted both NSI’s motion to dismiss
allegations of antitrust liability under the Sherman Act and their motion
for summary judgment on allegations of contributory trademark infringement
under the Lanham Act.
The judge cited three supporting district court decisions favoring NSI in
California, New York, and Washington, D.C. as precedence.
For now, NSI still stands alone in the domain registration service market,
though five companies will soon join the fray as part of a test-bed phase
to phase in registrar competition. The company has held a
government-contracted monopoly since 1993.