Texas court claims jurisdiction over ICANN and says ICANN can stay a UDRP proceeding

An interesting case from a Texas court.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas has issued a ruling stating that it has jurisdiction over ICANN in a bankruptcy case and that ICANN must stay a UDRP proceeding.

The case involves FunnyGames.com, which is in control of a receiver in a bankruptcy case. The receiver says the domain name has been appraised for $400,000.

FunnyGames.com was hit with a UDRP last month. The receiver in the case asked the court for an emergency motion forcing ICANN to stay the proceeding at World Intellectual Property Organization.

ICANN responded by arguing that it can’t stay the proceeding — only WIPO can. It told the court “ICANN does not play any role in administering or governing proceedings under the UDRP…” It also said that the court had no jurisdiction over ICANN.

The court disagreed. It said that since ICANN created UDRP and approves of arbiters, that:

It is no leap in logic to find that ICANN has the authority to stay the instant UDRP claim against Funnygames.com. The Court can draw no other inference other than that it simply has chosen not to.

The court also said it had statutory jurisdiction in this case “but by virtue of this matter being a federal equity receivership proceeding.”

[Hat tip: Bret Fausett]


  1. says

    Nice ruling — it sets up a scenario that since ICANN created the UDRP, it might be held responsible for shenanigans of the UDRP by its providers/panelists, and thus ultimately held liable.

    We’ve all detailed in the past various problems at NAF and WIPO, including the “cut and paste” scandals that ICANN never investigated or dealt with. This ruling says to ICANN that they need to do better, and can’t simply look the other way and play the “we’re not responsible” card.

  2. Mike says

    ICANN needs to be held accountable for everything it administers.

    They want to control everything and want the Commerce Department to let go of them and the oversight that comes with it so they can do even more what they want, when they want, with outrageous salaries, which also comes with bonuses(an extreme conflict of interest),to jet themselves around the world and stay in luxury hotels(we have the Internet people, why do they need to travel all over the world???), and they want be 100% unaccountable and immune for everything they do and every decision they make.

    I want this life too!!!! :)

    How can I also do what I want and not be held accountable, while partying my ass off in foreign countries while someone else (all domain holders) pay their partying tab? Add in some cocaine and whores and they are living better than kings.

    ICANN is a disgusting, corrupt entity, full of uneducated and unqualified persons running it. There needs to be domain experts running ICANN, yet they fill it with high-brow intellectuals that know nothing about domains, yet pass regulations hurting the entire Internet and business community.

    DOWN WITH ICANN!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. says

    ICANN always does this. They either look for excuses not to do anything or just don’t answer (unless you sponsor their parties, pay them money, or promise them jobs). ICANN was set up so they can tax and they don’t have to answer to anyone. No taxpayer votes, no Freedom of Information Act, nothing, you just pay them the money and they do what they want.

  4. Philip Corwin says

    You have to question the overall understanding of a court that thinks that ICANN has the power to “stay” an ongoing WIPO UDRP arbitration. Given ICANN’s lack of a contractual relationship with any UDRP provider, they have no clear power to do anything short of revoking accreditation.

    But don’t look for that to change anytime soon, now that the GNSO Council has just acquiesced to a GAC misinformed by trademark interests and put off the start of UDRP reform by four more years. Registrants should start their own Tea Party — or Occupy Marina del Rey, if you prefer.

  5. says

    Doesn’t this simply highlight the need for ICANN to do its job properly and put a contract in place with the providers.

    That does not require UDRP reform – in fact, the contract should reverse the improper de facto changes that the various providers have put in place via their “Supplementary Rules”.

  6. John Berryhill says

    ICANN has in the past provided specific direction to UDRP providers.

    Prior to the Expired Domain Deletion Policy, which specifies actions to be taken when a domain name expires during a UDRP, I was involved in a case where the subject domain name did indeed drop during the proceeding and was picked up at another registrar. I had suggested to the NAF that the proceeding was moot, since the registrar at the time of commencement would be unable to comply with a transfer order. NAF initially said that it didn’t matter, but then sought direction from ICANN. ICANN, specifically one of their in-house counsel, told NAF that the proceeding was moot and should be terminated, which NAF then did.

    So, there is at least one instance of ICANN specifically directing termination of a UDRP proceeding.

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