US Network Court Maintains ICANN’s Security of the New gTLD Program

Considering the new gTLD Program exposed in an opinion, The United States’ Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had confirmed the removal of antitrust and some objections against ICANN done by a company name.space.

 

While in 2013 a federal district court discharged all the name.space objections, in 2015 the Ninth Circuit confirmed that removal with all the specifics. In order to establish the new gTLD Program and the application fee at US$185,000, name.space claimed that ICANN infringed the Sherman Act, multiple laws and trademarks. Furthermore name.space reccomended that ICANN should assign names created in name.space’s “alternative internet”.

 

The rules and proceedings leading the 2012 new gTLD Program Application Round were considered by the plaintiff the result of an illegal intrigue between the board members,  ICANN, domain names industry fellows, and the mentioned U.S antitrust law (mainly Section 1 of the Sherman Act).

 

John Jeffrey, ICANN’s General Counsel and Secretary affirmed that they are excited with the Ninth Circuit decision of removing the requests against ICANN in this situation. Based on an international, wide, reachable and multistakeholder process, that pursues the complete policy evolution process taking to consensus-based policy suggestions, were designed the rules and proceedings that lead the new gTLD Program. Thereupon, the Court determined it could not conclude an anticompetitive accord just by the facts showed in the case.

 

The court decided that ICANN is not a rival in the three important markets the claimant named as the foundation of its objection (quoting the tests from Section 2 of the Sherman Act):
1. The market to operate as a TLD registry;
2. The global market for domain names;
3. The market for blocking or protective registration services.

 

As a conclusion, the Court determined that name.space trademark objections were not founded and its common law objections supported facts that sustain an objection against ICANN. In this situation, ICANN was defended by Jones Day.

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