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VeriSign antitrust claim against ICANN rebuffed

Site Finder spat continues

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VeriSign has suffered a legal setback in its courtroom battles with Internet governing body ICANN over its controversial Site Finder service.

Judge A. Howard Matz of the District Court in Central California this week threw VeriSign's anti-trust claim against ICANN out of court, dismissing its case with prejudice. The judge rejected VeriSign's allegations that its competitors manipulated a vote by ICANN's board about Site Finder after ruling that VeriSign had failed to turn up any evidence of a conspiracy against it. Judge Matz's decision is available at here (PDF).

Site Finder was launched in September 2003 when VeriSign applied a "wildcard" entry into the .com and .net Top Level Domain zones redirecting traffic that would otherwise have resulted in a "no domain" response to the controversial search site. This "typo squatting service" enraged techies who argued that the service was detrimental to the smooth running of the Internet. VeriSign was forced to suspend Site Finder less than a month later, following an order from ICANN, which claimed the company was in breach of its terms of operation. VeriSign maintains that ICANN exceeded its powers in compelling it to drop the service and launched suit.

The Court dismissed VeriSign's original complaint on 18 May 2004. But it allowed VeriSign to file an amended complaint over allegations that commercial pressure from its rivals was behind ICANN's decision to force VeriSign to withdraw its controversial Site Finder service. Despite the failure of these claims to win favour in court, VeriSign has vowed to continue its legal fight. ®

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