Verisign’s false advertising case about .xyz top level domain name is scheduled for jury trial next week.
[Update: the judge has granted summary judgment to XYZ.]
.Com registry Verisign is scheduled to present its case against .XYZ next week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.
Verisign filed a false advertising suit against .XYZ and its founder Daniel Negari in December. At the center of Verisign’s argument is that .XYZ gave away free .xyz domain names and then used these “inflated” registrations to show .XYZ’s success, and thereby harm .com.
It’s no secret that Network Solutions gave away hundreds of thousands of .xyz domain names to its customers on an opt-out basis. Verisign alleges that this was part of a round trip transaction in which .XYZ paid the registrar for advertising at the same time the registrar was paying .XYZ for registration fees. Verisign will argue that .XYZ had a concurrent $3 million advertising deal with the company while it was giving away the domain names.
Verisign’s list of exhibits for the trial includes documents related to the Network Solutions transaction.
(.XYZ was fuming after Verisign filed its exhibit list without redaction. The list included documents filed as confidential or “attorneys eyes only”. .XYZ says that release of the unredacted exhibit list caused immediate fallout for the company (pdf).)
A transcript recently made public shows that, at least as of July, Verisign’s lawyers also suspected .XYZ of doing similar round=trip deals with GMO in Japan and Xin Net in China. The exhibit list shows communications regarding GMO, but I don’t see any documents about Xin Net. It’s not clear if Verisign was able to uncover any round-trip deals with either of these registrars, and Verisign’s recent court filings refer only to the Network Solutions deal. GMO and Xin Net have certainly offered low prices on a number of new TLDs.
The jury trial begins on Monday.