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Internet

Judge rejects domain name trademark suit

A Missouri company loses its legal battle against the organization that oversees the Web address system--just before debates over adding domain name suffixes take place.

A Missouri company has lost its legal battle against the organization that oversees the Internet address system--just before debates over adding domain name suffixes take place.

A federal judge rejected a restraining order Monday sought by St. Louis-based Economic Solutions, which says it owns the ".bz" domain name suffix. He effectively ended the company's efforts to prevent the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from approving a new domain that would end in ".biz"

Attorneys for Economic Solutions argued that ".biz" or any variation of the suffix was confusingly similar to ".bz" and therefore amounted to trademark infringement.

The judge didn't agree.

"The possibility that, even before the ultimate establishment of a ".biz" (top-level domain), a selected applicant might assert rights adverse to those claimed by plaintiff would not, in the court's view, constitute irreparable harm," U.S. District Judge Donald J. Stohr wrote in his order.

ICANN officials could not be reached for comment, but a notice posted on the nonprofit's Web site says "ICANN applauds this decision preserving the integrity of the ongoing consensus-based process for moving toward the establishment of new," top-level domains.

Representatives of Economic Solutions could not immediately be reached for comment.

ICANN board members are meeting this week in Marina Del Rey, Calif., to decide whether new domain suffixes should be added to the Internet directory beyond the generic ".com," ".net" and ".org."

More than 40 applicants submitted proposals for new names; ".biz" and ".ebiz" were among the most popular suffixes suggested. Others included ".info," ".web" and ".geo."

ICANN is a private organization chosen by the Clinton administration in 1998 to coordinate the network's address system.