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ICANN Sued in an Attempt to Block .WEB Auction

Controversy over .WEB auction takes a new turn as various sources today pointed to a lawsuit filed against ICANN by Ruby Glen LLC, a subsidiary of Donuts Inc.—the largest registry for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Plaintiff is seeking minimum of $10 million in damages and has demanded a jury trial for complaints that include breach of contract, negligence and unfair competition.

— Andrew Allemann from Domain Name Wire writes: “Donuts and at least two other applicants are concerned that someone is bankrolling applicant Nu Dot Co’s application for .web. They believe there might be a change of control to the entity and new people involved, which they allege might require a change to Nu Dot Co’s application. They want this week’s auction of last resort for .web postponed while the matter is investigated.”

— Kevin Murphy from Domain Incite writes: “But Donuts’ complaint strongly implies that ICANN is forcing the auction to go ahead because it stands to benefit financially.”

— [UPDATE / July 26] “Wednesday’s .Web auction must go on,” reports Allemann: “ICANN has responded to Donuts’ lawsuit over the .web top level domain name auction, saying that Donuts’ allegations are unfounded and that the auction should proceed as planned on Wednesday.”

— [UPADATE / August 9] “Donuts is demanding ICANN pay up the $22.5 million it reckons it is owed from the auction of the .web gTLD, which sold late last month [July 28] for $135 million,” Kevin Murphy reporting today in Domain Incite: “The company yesterday amended its existing California lawsuit against ICANN to allege that Verisign tried to avoid regulatory scrutiny by secretly bankrolling successful bidder Nu Dot Co.”

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.web may not be usable in California Karl Auerbach  –  Jul 26, 2016 10:52 PM

With regard to .web one should not forget that IOD had an operational .web registry here in California dating from a very long time ago.  I still have a copy of my paid-up invoice for my cavebear.web registration and I have been operating a workable website at that address for decades (you need to use a DNS resolver that recognizes IOD’s .web).

Whether you believe in competing root systems or not, .web by IOD was an operating business here in California well before ICANN, and it has existing contractual relationships.  One (such as myself) might consider anyone operating another .web named service in California as an interference with my existing contractual relationships.  This kind of thing is not a domain name issue but an instance of the age-old law about a business coming into an area in which an established, older business has established a common law us of a name in business.

One would hope that rather than stomping on pre-existing, and quite legal, prior business uses of .web in California that the new aspirant would reach out to the prior vendor and users and seek an accommodation or release.

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