Namecheap has sued ICANN in California, asking a court to force the Org to revisit its decision to lift price caps on .org and .info domain names five years ago.
Registrar CEO Richard Kirkendall announced the suit on Twitter this afternoon:
Today we filed suit against @ICANN. After a previous ruling via a mediation process they have taken little action towards the recommendations of that ruling and so our hand has been forced to take this action. We feel that ICANN is in direct violation of their mandate and…
— Richard Kirkendall (@NamecheapCEO) February 5, 2024
The lawsuit follows an Independent Review Process case that Namecheap partially won in December 2022, where the panel said ICANN should hire an economist to look at whether price caps are a good idea before revisiting its decision to scrap them.
The panel found that the ICANN board of directors had shirked its duties to make the decision itself and had failed to act as transparently as its bylaws mandate.
Namecheap says that over a year after that decision was delivered, ICANN has not implemented the IRP panel’s recommendations, so now it wants the Superior Court in Los Angeles to hand down an injunction forcing ICANN to do so.
Before 2019, .org was limited to 10% price increases every year, but the cap was lifted, along with caps in .info and .biz, when ICANN renewed, standardized and updated the respective registries’ Registry Agreements.
The caps decision led to the ulimtately unsuccessful attempt by Ethos Capital to acquire Public Interest Registry, which runs .org.
Namecheap’s new lawsuit wants the judge to issue “an order directing ICANN to comply with the recommendations of the IRP Panel”.
That means ICANN’s board would be told to consider approaching PIR and .info registry Identity Digital to talk about reintroducing price caps, to hire the economist, and to modify its procedures to avoid any future transparency missteps.