ICM Registry has hired new lawyers to help it fend off the antitrust lawsuit filed against it by YouPorn owner Manwin Licensing.
Gordon & Rees senior partner Richard Sybert is taking over as lead counsel in the case, which relates to the launch of .xxx last year.
Notably, the new team includes long-time ICANN legal expert Bret Fausett of Internet.Pro, who represented the Coalition For ICANN Transparency in its antitrust case against ICANN and Verisign.
That’s a bit of a coup for ICM. Manwin’s recent legal arguments have relied heavily on the antitrust precedents Fausett helped set in the CFIT case.
Gordon & Rees replaces Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr as ICM’s outside counsel, due to the recent departure of Wilmerhale’s ICANN guru and ICM defender, Becky Burr.
Burr joined Neustar as its chief privacy officer in May.
Manwin sued ICM and ICANN last October, arguing that the launch of .xxx was little more than a shake-down.
Earlier this month, a California District Court judge ruled that ICANN is not immune from competition law and that the litigation can proceed.
The case will turn in part on the question of whether there’s a market for “defensive registrations” under competition law and whether ICANN and ICM illegally exploited it.