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ICM, ICANN Plan to Respond to .XXX Lawsuit by Jan. 20

ICM, ICANN Plan to Respond to .XXX Lawsuit by Jan. 20
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Dec 22, 2011 11:00 AM PST    Text size: 

LOS ANGELES — Attorneys for ICM Registry and ICANN have proposed to respond to Manwin and Digital Playground's suit no later than Jan. 20, XBIZ has learned.

Manwin Licensing International Sàrl and Digital Playground teamed up in November to wage an antitrust suit against .XXX operator ICM Registry and ICANN, which runs the Internet. Both defendants already have agreed to accept service of the complaint.

The suit claims violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, as well as violations of two California statutes relative to unfair competition and practices, and names 10 John does as defendants.

Once ICM Registry and ICANN have filed their responses, Manwin and Digital Playground have until Feb. 17 to file responsive motions, the parties plan. The first hearing over motions under the proposal could be set for April 2.

ICM Registry will be represented by the Los Angeles law office of WilmerHale, while ICANN has tapped Los Angeles' Jones Day to represent its interests.

Manwin and Digital Playground have already tapped the law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp of Los Angeles to handle the antitrust suit.

The suit, waged just prior to .XXX's general roll out, seeks to "redress for monopolistic conduct, price gouging and anticompetitive and unfair practices, broadly harming competition, businesses and consumers, and arising out of the establishment of .XXX ... ."

Filed at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the suit goes on to say that .XXX “defensive registrations” are causing confusion and dilution of adult websites’ values, and that the costs and disadvantages of them outweigh any benefit of the sTLD.

“In fact, ICM promoted .XXX in large measure first to create and then exploit the need for such defensive registration,” the suit said.

The two adult studio plaintiffs also contend that ICANN, which oversees the Internet, provided “no competitive process for the award of the .XXX registry contract.”

The studios said that ICM has reacted to the circumstances with the anti-competitive behavior “expected of a monopolist” by making defensive registrations unreasonably expensive and difficult and has required that registrants of names in .XXX waive legal rights and claims against ICM as a condition of registering.

They also charge that ICM Registry has reserved to itself some of the most popular or desirable domain names, which it has sold at prices substantially above those in a competitive market.

The suit seeks an injunction and attorneys fees, as well as other relief.

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