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.WEB, the summer soap : Donuts goes to court against ICANN

August 18

Following the award by ICANN of the new extension (TLD) .WEB to the Registry Nu Dot Co LLC, which has been proved to be a "subsidiary" of VeriSign, Ruby Glen LLC, a subsidiary of the Donuts Regsitry, has filled an amended complaint against ICANN in a Federal District Court in California.

Donuts is complaining that the auction for .WEB, which closed for USD 135 million, should not have gone forward, because VeriSign took control over the applicant Nu Dot Co LLC, before the end of the auction. Furthermore, it has been stated that Nu Dot Co LLC is planning to give rights in .WEB to Verisign in the future.

Donuts’ updated lawsuit demands USD 22.5 million plus interest in /damages, which is how much it would have received had the auction been private and still closed for USD 135 million. Donuts claims that ICANN ignored the changes at Nu Dot Co LLC because ICANN wanted the USD 135 million.

However, it is unlikely that Donuts is going to win this lawsuit, since the applicant’s guideline specifies that a civil procedure is not possible. Donut’s fears are of course that .WEB's rights be transferred to VeriSign. It would give VeriSign an even bigger dominant role in the domain names industry, since, as already said, .WEB is seen as a key TLD along with .COM and .NET, already managed by VeriSign.

This lawsuit will not prevent Nu Dot Co LLC from going for the delegation of the TLD and then for the different phases of registration. Stay tuned for the next episode of .WEB!

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