Sex.com could cost VeriSign $100m, says suit

One of life's bigger bloopers?

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Sex.Com, the disputed adult web portal currently owned by Grant Media LLC, said it is a step closer to a ruling on whether it can claim damages from VeriSign Inc for alleged negligence in the transfer of the domain name sex.com to another party.

The company said in a statement Thursday that an appeals court in San Francisco has asked the California Supreme Court to rule on whether a domain name can be classed as property and for guidance on other matters.

A court last year found that conman Stephen Cohen used a forged letter to trick Network Solutions Inc, now owned by VeriSign, into transferring ownership of the valuable domain from Gary Kremen, now CEO of the portal, in 1994.

Cohen, who made millions from the domain, was ordered to give back the domain and pay $65m damages, but subsequently went AWOL and has not come forward with the cash. Kremen and his attorneys seek to extract damages from VeriSign for allowing the fraud to take place.

Sex.com is looking for damages that could amount to $100m. VeriSign claims that domain names, which are typically registered to companies and individuals for annual fees, rather than sold outright, cannot be classed as property and that the company cannot be held liable for what Kremen calls a "negligent transfer".

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