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VeriSign antitrust claims will be heard in court

Kevin Murphy, July 9, 2010, 19:59:00 (UTC), Domain Registries

VeriSign has suffered another legal setback in its antitrust court battle with the Coalition For ICANN Transparency, after an appeals court ruled that CFIT has a case to be heard.

CFIT reckons VeriSign’s deal with ICANN to run the .com registry, which has a presumptive right of renewal and allows annual price increases, breaks US competition law.

Its complaint had been thrown out of court, but was restored on appeal last year. Today, VeriSign’s request for a rehearing was rejected, meaning the case is cleared for trial.

CFIT counsel Bret Fausett tweeted this evening that it will head either back to the District Court, or to the Supreme Court.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for VeriSign.

The company has spent the last couple of years getting out of most of its non-domain markets, epitomized by the recent sale of its SSL unit to Symantec, so it is ultra-exposed to risk and uncertainty in its highly lucrative .com business.

For that reason, I doubt this case will ever see trial. We’re looking at a settlement, most likely. VeriSign’s probably going to have to break out the check-book.

CFIT is basically a front operation for Momentous.ca, owner of aftermarket player Pool.com.

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Comments (2)

  1. jb says:

    Please beware that ICANN is not behind Verisign’s (formerly Network Solution’s) .com contract. It is a US Government contract predating the formation of ICANN. ICANN performs oversight for many of the tasks Verisign does for the government, but cannot hire, fire or otherwise sanction Verisign.

    Also beware that the .com monopoly was broken up some years ago, leaving Verisign with a non-monopoly domain registrar business and some closely regulated janitorial jobs (such as mechanically publishing domain names sold by its competitors).

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