Court rules in favor of ICANN

A federal judge denies a preliminary injunction filed against the organization that oversees the Internet's domain name hierarchy and address space.

Jim Hu
Jim Hu Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jim Hu
covers home broadband services and the Net's portal giants.
A federal judge has denied a preliminary injunction filed against the organization that oversees Internet domain names and addresses.

In a ruling released Thursday, a federal court in Los Angeles dismissed charges filed by two domain name registrars that alleged the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) had engaged in anticompetitive practices. The charges were filed after ICANN said it would hand over the management of expired domain names ending in .com and .net, called the Wait-Listing Service, to online security company VeriSign. The plaintiffs claimed that ICANN breached its obligations because many other parties had objected to its proposal.

The court ruled, however, that the wait-list change would not harm competition or the public trust.

"Accordingly, it appears that the implementation of WLS has the potential to benefit registries, registrars who do not currently offer wait-listing services, and most importantly the public," the ruling read.

ICANN's decision to hand over the WLS to VeriSign launched a debate that expanded beyond the court room. In June, two members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill to block the move.

VeriSign, which has a government-granted monopoly as the main database administrator for .com and .net domain names and addresses, recently has been sparring with ICANN over the company's controversial "Site Finder" service, which snared traffic to nonexistent Internet sites and forwarded it to VeriSign's own servers. The service is now at least temporarily on hold.

CNET News.com's Declan McCullagh contributed to this report.