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Donuts asks judge to allow limited discovery

Company wants information and documents from Nu Dot Co and Verisign related to .web transaction.

New top level domain name company Donuts has asked a judge to let it undertake limited discovery to figure out what happened between Nu Dot Co and Verisign (NYSE: VRSN) as it relates to the .web domain name.

Nu Dot Co applied for .web, but at some point struck a deal with Verisign to transfer rights for the domain if it won it at an auction. Donuts (and other applicants for .web) believe the deal might have required a change to Nu Dot Co’s application.

For its part, Donuts sued ICANN and asked for $22.5 million, which it says is how much it would have received had the auction been handled privately instead of an auction of last resort.

(The runner-up in the auction, Afilias, has asked for Nu Dot Co’s bid to be vacated and the domain name issued to Afilias instead.)

Donuts and ICANN have repeatedly agreed to delay ICANN’s response to the lawsuit, which is now due by the end of today.

But today Donuts filed with the court asking (pdf) to move forward with limited discovery. It says that getting its hands on Nu Dot Co and Verisign documents will allow it to:

(a) to expedite the resolution of this matter by (i) facilitating the full and transparent investigation that is a critical component of any legitimate gTLD delegation process, and (ii) resolving the issue of NDC’s eligibility to participate in the .WEB string contention; (b) to provide Plaintiff with information necessary to support a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin any assignment of rights in the .WEB gTLD until the resolution of this matter; (c) to overcome the parties’ respective differences as to the timing and necessity of engaging in a Rule 26(f) conference at this stage in the litigation; and (d) learning critical facts necessary to address the issues ICANN intends to raise by a motion to dismiss.

ICANN has until the end of today to file its response to the lawsuit, which will apparently be a motion to dismiss.

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