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ICM Registry Makes New Allegations Against Manwin

ICM Registry Makes New Allegations Against Manwin
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Nov 20, 2012 3:45 PM PST    Text size: 

LOS ANGELES — ICM Registry has amended its countersuit against Manwin to make new allegations of unfair competition involving one of Manwin's newly acquired divisions, Reality Kings.

The $40 million countersuit against Manwin, amended last week, re-alleges the adult entertainment conglomerate filed its antitrust lawsuit against .XXX operator ICM Registry in order to maintain its "current monopoly" over search and access to online adult entertainment.

But in an amended countersuit filed last week, ICM Registry makes new allegations that Manwin has colluded with third parties to boycott content from Shemale.xxx and Ladyboy.xxx, both owned by Grooby Productions, on Manwin's tube sites based upon on their .XXX affiliation.

New allegations mentioned in the amended countersuit involve Reality Kings, which earlier this year was acquired by Manwin.

ICM Registry said that prior to the acquisition in April, Reality Kings' operators entered into the.XXX Founders Program, which helped webmasters develop batches of sites and secure matching adult domain portfolios  of existing domains in other top-level domains prior to .XXX's official reservation period.

But once Manwin found out about Reality Kings' involvement with the Founders Program deal with ICM Registry prior to the acquisition, the deal died on the vine, the amended countersuit said.

"Pursuant to Manwin’s boycott of .XXX, Reality Kings has not developed its domains and is in breach of the .XXX Founder Premium Domain Name licensing fee contract," ICM Registry said.

ICM Registry claims in the amended countersuit that Reality Kings’ breach of contract is a direct result of Manwin’s interference.

Luxembourg-based Manwin filed the first shot in the legal battle over .XXX last November, when it made claims alleging that ICM Registry received original and renewal top-level domain registry contracts without competition, is charging above-market .XXX prices, imposes other anticompetitive .XXX sales restrictions and has, because of its ICANN contract, precluded other adult-oriented TLDs from operating. Manwin also named ICANN in the suit.

Last month ICM Registry filed its countersuit, making scores of allegations, including that Manwin, as well as its Digital Playground division and co-plaintiff, engaged in predatory acts to prevent and coerce others in the adult entertainment industry from utilizing the .XXX TLD platform.

ICM Registry also leveled charges that Manwin engaged in an unfair and anticompetitive campaign by interfering with the .XXX operator's existing and prospective contractual relationships with sites like Orgasms.xxx and Casting.xxx, such as the new counterclaims involving Ladyboy.xxx and Shemale.xxx.

The .XXX operator also claimed that Manwin improperly interfered with potential sponsorships at XBIZ and AVN adult industry events, as well as advertising opportunities. ICM Registry even alleged that .XXX spokesmodels had been coerced to end relationships.

With the counterclaim, ICM Registry is asking for a restraining order enjoining Manwin from maintaining or renewing anticompetitive contracts or any actions at boycotting .XXX for an array of purposes, as well as $40 million in damages, as well as punitive and treble damages. Manwin's lawsuit seeks a restraining order over .XXX operations, as well as attorneys fees.

Manwin officials did not immediately respond for XBIZ comment on the amended countersuit. Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry, declined comment to XBIZ on the latest filing.

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