VeriSign sues ICANN in state court

After losing a federal court battle against the organization that oversees the Internet's addressing system, VeriSign Inc. has taken its fight to state court.

VeriSign, which manages the .com and .net domains, filed an amended lawsuit against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court alleging breach of contract, asking for a declaratory judgement and unspecified monetary damages.

In the lawsuit, Mountain View, Calif.-based VeriSign alleged that ICANN violated the terms of a 2001 .com registry agreement that gave VeriSign the authority over the .com domain registry. VeriSign also asked the court to rule that ICANN must stay out of its business. VeriSign did not allege antitrust violations, as it had in its federal lawsuit.

A federal judge threw out those claims last week, forcing VeriSign to seek relief in state court.

In the state lawsuit, VeriSign claimed that ICANN stepped outside its charter by delaying the introduction of new VeriSign services , including its Site Finder service, which redirects requests for nonexistent Web addresses, and its ConsoliDate service, which manages multiple domains. VeriSign claimed that ICANN cost the company money because of its tactics.

"(W)ere VeriSign to defer offering such services to the public during the effective period of the 2001 .com Registry Agreement, or to modify such services due to ICANN's conduct and threats, VeriSign will suffer irreparable losses of revenue from third parties, profits, market share, competitive position, reputation and goodwill," the lawsuit states. "Furthermore, millions of Internet users will be deprived of the improved functionality and quality of VeriSign services."

An ICANN spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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