National Internet registry Domainz says its processes have been vindicated by a High Court decision which threw out claims against it by Oggi Advertising.
Oggi claimed that Domainz should not have allowed New Zealand resident Cameron McKenzie to register the domain name oggi.co.nz. In April, Oggi Advertising filed a lawsuit against The Internet Society of New Zealand (Isocnz), later seeking to join Domainz.
Judge Baragwanath said Domainz had acted "honestly, efficiently, moderately and in conformity with its role as disinterested gatekeeper to the domain names system" in allowing McKenzie to register the name. He said Oggi had no basis for pleading that Domainz committed some breach of a legal duty.
However, he concluded that agents such as Internet Service Providers played an important role in registering domain names on behalf of registrants, and also need to act responsibly in this area.
Domainz CEO Patrick O'Brien says the registry's role is solely to register domain names - not decide on their relative merits.
"We are pleased with the result of this case, which will no doubt act as a precedent internationally. We completely agree with Judge Baragwanath's opinion that Oggi had no basis on which to involve us in the first place. It is nothing to do with us and we should not have been involved.
"Instead, Oggi's actions have necessitated our involvement at just about every stage of the proceeding, causing us a great deal of lost time and money."
Domainz has been awarded near-maximum costs of $10,000. While no indemnity costs have been awarded, Judge Baragwanath said in his ruling that this may be appropriate in future "now that the role and status of Domainz has become apparent".
Domainz says the relatively high level of the award is due in part to Oggi seeking pecuniary damages and other remedies from Domainz, "as well as persisting with other allegations that the judge considered completely unfounded."
Oggi Advertising took out its first lawsuit on this issue against McKenzie in April. Oggi claimed that in holding the domain name oggi.co.nz McKenzie was infringing Oggi Advertising's rights in the name. Oggi also joined ISOCNZ, and later named Domainz, in that suit, claiming they acted in conspiracy with McKenzie in an act of "passing off" against use of the Oggi name.
In early June, Oggi secured a temporary injunction against Cameron McKenzie. Oggi dropped both Domainz and ISOCNZ from that action. Following the injunction, McKenzie instructed Domainz to transfer the name to Oggi Outdoor Advertising using the Registry's normal processes.