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Pool.com Launches ICANN Lawsuit Against WLS

Pool.com has launched a lawsuit challenging the right of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to proceed with a monopolistic new Wait List Service (WLS) this fall.

In a Statement of Claim filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Pool.com states that the new "WLS proposed by ICANN and Verisign Inc. will have the immediate and total effect of ending all competition among Registrars for dropped or deleted domain names" in the rapidly developing backordering industry. Pool.com seeks a court injunction preventing ICANN from proceeding with the WLS, a declaration that ICANN's actions constitute intentional and wrongful interference with Pool.com's trade and commercial prospects, as well as significant damages.

Backordering services offers domain name registrants the ability to obtain dropped and deleted domain names, which are becoming available at the rate of about 22,000 per day or over 7 million per year. At present, over 60 accredited registrars now compete on behalf of their clients for these names in a "vibrant and intense" manner. Pool.com works in partnership with several of these registrars, recently introducing a new service that allows customers to backorder domain names without the up-front charges imposed by other backorder providers. In a short period of time, Pool.com's new approach has leaped into the competitive forefront, quickly attracting over 100,000 would-be registrations.

"The recent introduction of Pool.com's new service is further evidence that the backordering business is healthy and competitive and innovative" says Len Bayles, Vice President of Pool.com. "The proposed actions by ICANN and Verisign would, simply put, have the effect of putting ourselves and others out of business and would leave consumers dependent on a monopoly provider."

Pool.com's lawsuit is one of a growing number of initiatives aimed at preventing ICANN from restricting competition. ICANN's conduct in support of monopolistic practices has been viewed so egregiously as to attract the attention of the US Congress, including the introduction of the "Fair, Transparent and Competitive Naming Act of 2003" aimed at examining the conduct of ICANN and seeking an inquiry directly challenging the authority of ICANN to enable the WLS and a moratorium on the introduction of the WLS.

To read the content of the lawsuit see Statement of Claim - Pool.com Inc. v. ICANN (PDF)

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