ICANN and Internet Registry Litigation
VeriSign operates several of the largest top-level domain name "registries" that are essential to the proper working of the Internet, including the registries for .com and .net domain names. An Internet "registry" organizes and tracks all of the domain names in a particular top-level domain (e.g., ".com" or ".net") and provides the technology so that users can accurately and securely access Internet addresses within those registries. Our attorneys have represented VeriSign in connection with claims between it and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"), which is the non-profit entity charged by the Department of Commerce with management and coordination of the domain name system, in litigation in both federal and state courts and before the International Chamber of Commerce, and in related proceedings with the Department of Commerce and certain Congressional committees.
The issues raised in these complex and multi-faceted proceedings include VeriSign's rights to continue to serve as the registry for the .com and .net registries. Our firm negotiated a settlement of the claims between VeirSign and ICANN that provides for the continued operation of the registries by VeriSign under long-term contractual arrangements. The firm also has represented VeriSign in related litigation by private parties, brought under intellectual property, antitrust, unfair competition, and contract theories, challenging VeriSign's operation of the Internet registries. Five of these cases have been dismissed as a result of the firm's representation of VeriSign. In November 2005, two private entities, Coalition for ICANN Transparency Inc. ("CFIT") and World Association of Domain Name Developers, Inc. ("WADND"), filed actions in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, seeking to prevent VeriSign and ICANN from entering into the proposed 2005 .com registry agreement. The actions brought by CFIT and WADND allege, among other things, that entry into the proposed 2005 .com registry agreement would constitute unlawful monopolization and conspiracy to monopolize, in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act; an unlawful restraint of trade, in violation of the Cartwright Act; and an unlawful and unfair business practice, in violation of California law. The action by the WADND has been voluntarily dismissed based on defenses asserted by the firm on VeriSign's behalf. Likewise, the court has granted our Motion to Dismiss CFIT's claims.