DotConnectAfrica Wont Give up! Wins Second Injunction from a US Court over .Africa

DotConnectAfrica the applicant for .Africa, won’t give up till its justice is served.

Yesterday, the company, in a press release announced that a United States District Court, ruling has granted a Preliminary Injunction for DotConnectAfrica, the decision for case no. 16-CV-00862 RGK (JCx) [PDF].

The case involves DotConnectAfrica Trust v. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers & ZA Central Registry.

The 8 page ruling breaks down major points that the court considered when making the ruling.  This win comes barely a month after the applicant won a Ex Parte Application for Temporary restraining order  [PDF Case No: CV 16-00862 RGK (JCx)] that barred the delegation of .Africa till the case has been determined.

The preliminary injunction (PI) means that the case will proceed to full trial and the parties will have their day in court to present facts. The slams the nonprofit organization for running a sham process over the top-level domain in an effort to hand it to its preferred bidder.

“… Here, the public has an interest in the fair and transparent application process that grants gTLD rights. ICANN regulates the internet – a global system that dramatically impacts daily life in today’s society. The IRP Declaration recognizes that ICANN’s function is “special, unique, and publicly important” and ICANN itself “is the steward of a highly valuable and important international resources.” (Bekele Decl.¶ 23.110, Ex. 1, ECF No. 17.) …. the Court finds “serious questions” going toward DCA’s likelihood of success on the merits and a balance of hardships that tips sharply in DCA’s favor … Additionally, the Court finds that both the likelihood of irreparable injury and the public interest favors the injunction. As such, the Court GRANTS a preliminary injunction barring ICANN from delegating the rights to .Africa until this case is resolved …”–Judge Klausner, U.S. District Court, April 12, 2016, DotConnectAfrica Trust vs ICANN & ZA Central Registry, infra, embedded below (emphasis added).

Combined with previous revelations in the .africa case – where ICANN’s staff were shown to have unduly influenced the process, covered up the fact and then denied having done so – the decision represents yet another mark against the nonprofit which hopes to take over the task of allocating all internet names and numbers from the US government later this year. writes TheRegister

An IRP panel had ordered ICANN to continue evaluating DCA’s bid for exclusive rights to domain names under the names “Africa.”,  However, ICANN paid lip service to the decision and DCA argues that subsequent evaluation was little more than a sham – and the court agrees, The evidence suggests that ICANN intended to deny DCA’s application based on pretext.  Defendants have not introduced any controverting facts. Continues TheRegister of UK

“Although DCA may be able to recover certain funds through litigation, such as the application fee, the opportunity to obtain the rights to .africa would be forever gone. ICANN’s position, however, will be no different if it delays delegating the rights to .africa. Thus, the balance of equities tips sharply in DCA’s favour,” the court ruling reads.

The court also rejected ICANN’s claims that DCA is not entitled to sue it because it made DCA sign a contract before it applied for .africa that said it was not allowed to sue ICANN in a court of law.

In asking if ICANN would file an Interlocutory Appeal in DCA Trust gTLD AFRICA case, Domain Mondo asserts that In a U.S. District Court ruling that may have far reaching impacts beyond just the Plaintiff’s case.

HTXT of South Africa, reporting on the case wrote that

Interestingly, the court sided with DCA’s position that the .africa domain can only be issued once, and if “DCA’s application was improperly processed and ICANN is not barred from delegating the .Africa rights, DCA could suffer irreparable harm losing the chance to control the .Africa domain.” The .Africa domain was supposed to go live more than two years ago, and it seems like there is no end in sight as to when the matter will be resolved.

The full court ruling is attached below (PDF)

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