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US judge freezes .africa gTLD

Kevin Murphy, March 7, 2016, 09:32:16 (UTC), Domain Registries

A US court has blocked ICANN from delegating the .africa gTLD for at least another month.
At the request of failed .africa applicant DotConnectAfrica, a California judge handed ICANN a temporary restraining order, enjoining it from “issuing” .africa.
The ruling came two days after the ICANN board of directors voted to allow .africa to be delegated to successful applicant ZACR.
The decision seems to be based on the fact that a delegation is essentially irreversible, so even if DCA were to win the lawsuit it would not be able to get its hands on the gTLD.
“Plaintiff has demonstrated that once the tGLD [sic] is issued, it will be unable to obtain those rights elsewhere,” the judge wrote (pdf).
DCA’s lawsuit, filed despite the that that it waived its right to sue under the new gTLD application agreement, basically makes the same arguments that its successful Independent Review Process made.
The court is due to hold a hearing on April 4 to decide whether ICANN can delegate .africa or will have to wait until the lawsuit is fully resolved.
The company, incidentally, appears to have changed lawyers since its original complaint against ICANN was filed. It’s now with Brown Neri & Smith, having briefly been with Brandon Schantz.

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Comments (1)

  1. No surprise here. Court’s generally don’t like attempts to pre-empt their decisions.
    Even if DCA’s case is weak (and I say it is weak), if there is a non-zero chance of success, and damages would not be a suitable remedy for a breach, then courts will favour prohibitory order for a short time to preserve the status quo while it is deliberating.

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