VeriSign Renews ICANN Fight in Cali

Getting no traction at the federal level, VeriSign
lawyers took their case against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names
and Numbers (ICANN) to the state.

The two-count breach of contract suit filed with the Los Angeles County
State Superior Court Friday is essentially a carbon copy of the amended seven-count
suit it filed in the federal courts.

“They want to play this out in court at the cost of Internet users,” said
Paul Twomey, ICANN president and CEO, noting that he hoped the two entities could sit down and try
to resolve the disputed provisions of the 2001 Registry Agreement.

“It essentially comes down to a contractual dispute between VeriSign and
ICANN,” said Jim Hock, a VeriSign spokesperson. “What this case is all
about is trying to get to the issue of clarity around the introduction of
new services and what a company like VeriSign and other businesses can do.”

VeriSign officials claim ICANN is in violation of its own 2001 Registry
Agreement by preventing VeriSign from instituting new programs in order to make money.
The registry claims that Wait-List Service (WLS) and SiteFinder fall outside the registry services
defined in the agreement.

which redirects users who misspell a Web site
or e-mail address to a VeriSign-sponsored page, is already offered by
other gTLDs and ccTLDs it competes with.

Its Wait-List Service (WLS) centralized the sale of
newly expired .com domain names, taking them out of the hands of individual
registries. VeriSign balked at the two years it waited for
ICANN directors to approve WLS
over the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).

Federal judge A. Howard Matz, however, said if VeriSign couldn’t prove that
members of the ICANN board of directors were involved in a conspiracy to block
its new services, the breach of contract issues wouldn’t get a ruling.

In both cases VeriSign abided by ICANN’s request to suspend the WLS and
SiteFinder services, though officials believe it was wrong of the
organization to ask for the suspension in the first place.

While VeriSign is asking for monetary damages in its lawsuit, the company’s
main aim is to bring parity into the ICANN process for services rendered on
the Internet.

In the latest suit, VeriSign states ICANN should: abide by the
definition of registry services in the agreement; comply with and adhere
to the limits on its exercise of authority provided by the agreement; apply
its standards, policies, procedures and practices in a fair, non-arbitrary,
reasonable and equitable fashion; establish meaningful, adequate and
independent review policies and appeal procedures; and deal with VeriSign in
an open and transparent manner.

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