Industry News

Update on Manwin/ICM Suit

From Manwin


LOS ANGELES (February 17, 2011) – Manwin Licensing International, an information technology company specializing in highly trafficked websites and online adult entertainment, today filed an amended complaint in its lawsuit for antitrust violations against the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and ICM Registry (ICM).

ICM is the sole operator of the .XXX registry, and was exclusively selected for that position by ICANN, which must approve the operators of all Top Level Domain names. The lawsuit seeks to redress monopolistic, anti-competitive practices in the .XXX top-level domain name.

Filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the amended complaint adds new details about the illegal scheme by ICANN and ICM to eliminate competitive bidding and market restraints in, and to monopolize, the markets for .XXX registry services. These details include, for example, information about how ICANN profited from the scheme, what ICM and ICANN discussed about above-market pricing in the .XXX registry, and ICM’s coercive acts intended to secure ICANN’s agreement to the scheme.

The amended complaint also drops two related state law claims against ICM and ICANN, without in any manner affecting the remedies which Manwin seeks. While Manwin believes that it would have prevailed on the two state law claims, those claims involved procedural peculiarities of California law that posed risks of potential trial delay. Manwin is anxious to have its day in court and did not want any such delay.

“The filing of an amended complaint in our antitrust case was required to avoid unnecessary procedural delays by ICM and ICANN,” said Kevin E. Gaut, counsel for Manwin and partner with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP. “It also reinforces the fact that both ICANN and ICM both knew that the terms of the .XXX registry contract would permit ICM to charge supra-competitive prices and prevent competitors from entering the market. We are still pursuing all of the remedies filed in the original complaint.”

Manwin originally filed the antitrust case against ICM and ICANN on November 16, 2011.

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