VeriSign settles ICANN lawsuit

VeriSign has settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit accusing the organization that oversees the Internet's addressing system of delaying new domain-name services, the company announced Monday.

VeriSign  has settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit accusing the organization that oversees the Internet's addressing system of delaying new domain-name services, the company announced Monday.

VeriSign, which manages the .com and .net domains, had sued Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), accusing it of overstepping its contractual authority and dragging its feet on allowing VeriSign to offer new services such as a wait-list service and internationalized domain names. VeriSign had complained that the ICANN approval process could drag on for an indefinite time.

In the settlement, VeriSign and ICANN reached an agreement on a framework that establishes processes and guidelines for the introduction of new services and provides business clarity for top-level domain name registry operators and for registrars, VeriSign said. ICANN agreed to make a decision about proposed new services within 90 days, said Mark McLaughlin, senior vice president and general manager of VeriSign’s Naming and Directory Services business unit.

VeriSign and ICANN also agreed to extend the .com registry agreement through 2012. VeriSign contended that ICANN, the nonprofit corporation responsible for allocating Internet Protocol address space, violated the terms of a 2001 agreement that gave VeriSign the authority over the .com domain registry.

"We settled the lawsuit, which effectively hit the reset button on the relationship between VeriSign and ICANN," McLaughlin said. "(That) is a good thing for the Internet community."

Both sides agreed on "compromise and new solutions," McLaughlin said.

The agreement settles "long-standing points of tension" between ICANN and VeriSign, added Paul Twomey, president and CEO of ICANN. "The settlement opens the way for a constructive and productive relationship between ICANN and VeriSign that will benefit the global Internet community," Twomey said in a statement.

VeriSign originally filed an anti-trust lawsuit in U.S. district court in February 2004, but a judge threw out that case, saying VeriSign could instead file a breach-of-contract lawsuit in state court. VeriSign then filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in August 2004.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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