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VeriSign settles CFIT lawsuit for free

Kevin Murphy, May 11, 2011, 21:32:32 (UTC), Domain Registries

VeriSign has settled its five-year-old antitrust lawsuit with the Coalition For ICANN Transparency. What’s more, it’s done so without having to sign a big check.
The company has just released a statement to the markets:

Under the terms of the Agreement, no payment will be made and the parties immediately will file a dismissal with prejudice of all claims in the litigation. Further, the parties executed mutual releases from all claims now and in the future related to the litigation.
CFIT voluntarily agreed to dismiss its claims in their entirety with prejudice in view of recent developments in the case, including the Amended Opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the subsequent orders of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division dismissing the claims regarding .Net and for disgorgement, and VeriSign’s motion for summary judgment.

On the face of it, this looks like a huge win for VeriSign, which has been facing questions about the CFIT suit from analysts on pretty much every earnings call since it was filed.
The original complaint alleged that VeriSign and ICANN broke competition law with their .com and .net registry agreements, which allow the company to raise prices every year.
Had CFIT won, it would have put a serious cramp on VeriSign’s business.
In February, a California judge dismissed the case, saying that CFIT’s membership did not having standing to sue. CFIT was given leave to amend its complaint, however, but that does not seem to have been enough to save its case.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, CFIT’s members were: iRegistry, Name Administration, Linkz Internet Services, World Association for Domain Name Developers, Targeted Traffic Domains, Bret Fausett, Howard Neu and Frank Schilling.

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