Altanovo Domains, the Afilias spin-off that is fighting Verisign for control of the .web gTLD, has filed a second Independent Review Process complaint with ICANN.
The filing could add years to Verisign’s launch runway for .web, which it won via secret proxy Nu Dot Co at auction in 2016.
ICANN has not yet published the IRP complaint — presumably it’s being redacted to remove commercially confidential information — but documentation shows Altanovo has “filed” an IRP.
Altanovo and ICANN has been in a Cooperative Engagement Process — a form of negotiation designed to avoid an IRP — since May 3, but a document published July 19 shows that the CEP is now over.
It was quite a brisk process. Other CEPs have been known to last many months.
When the CEP first emerged in May, Verisign was pretty brutal in its reaction, accusing Altanovo of “delay for delay’s sake”.
As the second-place bidder, Altanovo could stand to take control of .web if Verisign’s bid was found to be outside the rules. That was the focus of the first IRP case, which lasted almost four years.
The first IRP panel ruled that ICANN broke its bylaws by failing to consider whether Verisign secretly bidding via NDC broke the new gTLD program rules. But ICANN a couple months ago finally bit the bullet and ruled that Verisign did no wrong.
ICANN decided not to rule on whether Altanovo, then Afilias, broke the auction rules by communicating with NDC during a comms blackout period.
The specific allegations in the new IRP are not yet known. The IRP is only for complaints about ICANN’s actions or inaction breaking its own bylaws and other foundational documents.