The Internet Corp for Assigned Names and Numbers on Friday filed its response to VeriSign Inc’s revised antitrust lawsuit, calling its new claims of a conspiracy against the firm are mainly “irrelevant hyperbole”.
The organization, which oversees management of the internet’s naming and addressing systems, filed a motion to dismiss six of VeriSign’s seven claims against it. ICANN was successful in getting the court to dismiss the entire suit in May.
VeriSign’s first amended complaint (FAC) was filed a month ago. It alleges that conspiracies among its competitors has made ICANN interfere with the launch of controversial new services, such as Site Finder and Waiting List Service.
ICANN said that while the FAC is almost twice as long, most of the length reflects redundancy, not added substance and it would appear that all of ICANN’s decisions that affect VeriSign are the result of anticompetitive conspiracies.
With the FAC, what is common knowledge in the ICANN community now becomes even obvious to the Court: VeriSign does not agree with the way ICANN is structured or operates, and quite frankly is unhappy that ICANN even exists, the motion reads.
VeriSign is suing because it thinks ICANN acts unlawfully as its de facto regulator, by delaying or prohibiting services VeriSign wants to introduce to the .com and .net domain name registries that it runs under ICANN contract.
ICANN is trying to prevent VeriSign offering Site Finder on internet stability grounds, and, VeriSign says, has dragged its feet approving services such as WLS. All of which, the company says, costs VeriSign money.
The US District Court for the Central District of California in May dismissed VeriSign’s Sherman Act antitrust claim on the basis that the firm had failed to allege that there was a conspiracy involved in any of ICANN’s contended decisions.
VeriSign re-filed, naming the like of Go Daddy Software Inc as a conspirator with regard to WLS, and the likes of the Internet Systems Consortium and Afilias Ltd as conspirators with regard to Site Finder.
ICANN points out in its amended motion to dismiss that Go Daddy actually sued ICANN over WLS, and as such could hardly be seen as a conspirator. It also points out that those named as Site Finder co-conspirators do not offer Site Finder-like services.
ICANN characterizes the involvement of VeriSign’s rivals in the decision-making process as an essential part of its work, which is no doubt a constant source of annoyance and frustration to VeriSign.
Collaborative and collective action by all interested parties, including competitors, is the very essence of ICANN’s work as a consensus-based organization. But that fact does not mean… that every action ICANN takes amounts to an illegal conspiracy, the motion reads.
ICANN’s motion to dismiss, like the first one, does not attempt to dismiss the seventh claim, which calls for a declaratory judgment that WLS, Site Finder, and other contended services are not registry services within the meaning of the VeriSign-ICANN contracts.
This would mean that they would not be subject to ICANN regulation. The fact that ICANN has not tried to dismiss these claims has been interpreted as an acknowledgement that there is a real disagreement that needs to be settled here.
Claims two through seven may again turn out to be moot, however. The federal judge ruled in May on only the first claim, as that was the only federal charge made. Dismissing that meant he no longer had jurisdiction over the rest of the suit.