The internet industry's naming body is being sued by a US company for allegedly "strong arming" some of its business partners and "scaring" away potential customers.
RegLand, which enables customers to pre-register for the planned top-level domains (TLDs), has accused the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) of "business disparagement" and "tortuous interference".
At issue is the business of pre-registering customers for the planned TLDs, such as .shop, .info and .kids. Legal experts, as well as Icann, have warned customers against the practice because the naming body has yet to approve the domains.
But RegLand said it provides a valuable service because it works with certified registrars to ensure customers are first in the queue once the suffixes have been approved, but it cannot guarantee that customers will get the names.
Scott Harris, RegLand's chief executive, said the company is taking issue with a posting on Icann's website that warns against pre-registration. The posting says: "[Icann] feels it is premature for companies to offer pre-registration services...there is no guarantee that any particular organisation will be authorised to take registrations for any particular TLD."
Harris said the posting and his company's related dealings with Icann have led customers to fear that RegLand is running a "fraudulent" business. "Icann can't bully us around," he said. "Icann manages the technical aspect of domain names, not the pre-registering of new domains. We don't need approval from Icann."
Harris argued that RegLand works with authorised registrars, which he declined to name, and has received pre-registrations from 7000 customers. The company is seeking damages which Harris said could amount to millions of dollars.
A Icann spokesman said the naming body does not comment on litigation.
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