02|25|2008 03:13 pm EDT
According to a press release from the law firm Kabateck Brown Kellner, a federal class action lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California against domain name registrar Network Solutions and ICANN. The suit clam that the NSI has forced customers into buying domains from the company rather than through potentially cheaper avenues, in effect netting the company millions of dollars.
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According to the law firm’s website, Kabateck Brown Kellner is “one of the foremost plaintiffs-only litigation law firms in the western United States, with attorneys recovering more than $500 million in judgments, verdicts, and settlements on behalf of their clients, including more than 75 recoveries of more than $1 million.” The firm has won cases against Google, Yahoo, Farmer’s Insurance, Eli Lilly and others and claims to always be “on the consumers side”
ICANN is also named in the suit for their role in enabling and allowing Network Solutions to continue this practice.
“ICANN is aware that Network Solutions is abusing this policy and yet continues to facilitate its actions.”
Given that ICANN performance will be the subject of a public review on February 28th, the timing of this news surely can’t be a help at putting a good face on ICANN policy and performance.
In January, DomainNameNews.com released a featured story detailing the information behind NSI front-running on domain names. The story brought down our servers and continues to receive commentary across the web. Network Solutions public relations staff quickly went into damage control with a unified response that their actions were designed to protect customers against front-running. In a further attempt at damage control and amongst the public outcry, NSI quickly adjusted their policies so that the domains being registered were only names searched on the homepage, so they were not profiting from the domain parked page while they were held, and so the nameserver information could not be searched so easily. Apparently these tactics still did have not alleviated the core problems. The details and responses from NSI and ICANN to this lawsuit should be interesting.