ICANN AND Verisign Sued by WADND.COM for Price Fixing and Monopolizing ".COM" Domain Name Market

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WADND.COM files lawsuit against ICANN and Verisign alleging that the two have engaged in antitrust activities, including conspiracy, monopolization, illegal price fixing and monopolizing “.com” and “.net” domain name markets. The suit alleges that the two are on the verge of entering “an unlawful agreement [that] gives VeriSign a permanent monopoly over the all ‘.com’ and ‘.net’ internet domain name registrations.”

There is no legitimate reason for these price increases. ICANN and VeriSign are trying to take advantage of the lack of government oversight and line their pockets at the expense of domainers and domain investors

THE WORLD ASSOCIATION OF DOMAIN NAME DEVELOPERS, INC. (WADND.COM) filed suit today in the United States District Court in San Jose, California against ICANN (the corporation that maintains the database for all internet domain names) and VeriSign (ICANN’s subcontractor for the “.com” and “.net” domain names). Go to http://www.wadnd.com to view complaint PDF. The lawsuit brought by WADND on behalf of its members around the world, alleges that ICANN and Verisign have engaged in antitrust activities, including conspiracy, monopolization, illegal price fixing and monopolizing “.com” and “.net” domain name markets. The suit alleges that the two are on the verge of entering “an unlawful agreement [that] gives VeriSign a permanent monopoly over the all ‘.com’ and ‘.net’ internet domain name registrations.”

“This agreement would permanently fix the price of registering any ‘.com’ or ‘.net’ domain name far above what a free market would otherwise bear,” said Patrick Cathcart of Cathcart, Collins & Kneafsey LLP who filed the suit. Domain owners claim Verisign's monopoly already doubles the cost of .COM domains, and an anti-competitive agreement with ICANN will raise costs another 50% over the next six years. "There is no legitimate reason for these price increases. ICANN and VeriSign are trying to take advantage of the lack of government oversight and line their pockets at the expense of domainers and domain investors,” said Cathcart.

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is the California Corporation that maintains the database of all internet domain names (such as http://www.amazon.com). The ICANN/VeriSign contract, known as the 2005 Registry Agreement would extend VeriSign’s control of the “.com” and “.net” portions of the internet database.

For further information, please contact Patrick A. Cathcart or Sean M. Kneafsey of Cathcart, Collins & Kneafsey LLP at 213-225-6600.

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