Feeds

NSI beats-off domain legal challenge

But grumbling about its hold on the 'Who is' database continues

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Network Solutions (NSI), the former exclusive domain name registrar for .COM, .EDU, .NET, and .ORG, breathed a sigh or relief after it successfully defeated yet another legal challenge - from two rival birthday balloon vendors who both wanted the same domain name. NSI managed to persuade federal judge David Hamilton to dismiss allegations of antitrust liability by Bruce Watts of Green Forks, Indiana. On Watts' facts, he may have a trademark violation claim, but the previous registration of the domain name birthdayballoons.com will stand, and Watts will have to pay NSI's costs. The significant result of the case (and it is the fourth of the type) for registrars is that the judge confirmed that they are immune from antitrust violation claims for domain registration. But for businesses, the decision does not resolve the ridiculous position that for .COM domains, registration is still first-come, first-served, even if there is a pre-existing registered trademark. It takes expensive and often difficult trademark passing-off litigation to overturn the registration. In some countries, such as the Netherlands, the chambers of commerce control the issue of .NL domains, which seems to eliminate most trademark problems and cybersquatting. There is an important side issue that affects NSI, but this has not been much publicised. The Department of Justice began an antitrust investigation of NSI two years ago to determine whether NSI's "Who is" database is solely owned by NSI or not, in response to a complaint from PG Media. Earlier this month NSI received official notification from the DoJ that it was being investigated, but as is so often the case, events have rather overtaken the situation initially examined by the DoJ. NSI was first given the management of domain name registration in a contract from the National Science Foundation in 1993, and this ran until September last year. After some hassles, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversaw the transition from an NSI monopoly to a group of registrars (New domain name system kicks off) but all is not harmonious. NSI appears still to be the only .COM registrar at the moment because it has been reluctant to provide the software to make it possible for the additional registrars to access the "Who is" database. In January, NSI stopped access to some data in the database to discourage cybersquatters from buying names for resale. Only when the US Department of Commerce, the new regulator that took over from the NSF, got shirty did NSI restore access to the database last month. The present impasse is more likely to be resolved by negotiation than litigation, but NSI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Science Applications International Corp., whose revenues were $93 million in 1998, has managed to upset many in the community. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.