The .Africa gTLD can be re-delegated to DCA in the event DCA prevails in this litigation, says California Judge
ICANN announced last Friday that it is free to proceed with the delegation of .AFRICA domain following a recent Court decision that denied DotConnectAfrica’s (DCA’s) Motion for Preliminary Injunction to stop the delegation of the .AFRICA generic top-level domain (gTLD) to ZA Central Registry (ZACR).
In 2016, DotConnectAfrica managed to successfully enjoin ICANN from delegating the .africa domain until the case was fully determined, the judge who granted the Temporary restraining order and later the Preliminary Injunction found serious questions going to the merits. “Plaintiff DotConnectAfrica has demonstrated that once the gTLD is issued, it will be unable to obtain those rights elsewhere.” ruled Judge R. Gary Klausner. company had also won a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on 4th March 2016.
Accordingly, citing the recent Federal District Court Order in the Ruby Glen, LLC v ICANN matter [PDF, 62 KB], wherein the Court held that the “covenant not to sue” in the Guidebook is enforceable the Superior Court Judge Howard L. Halm ruled that “DCA’s claims against ICANN for fraud and unfair business practices are likely to be barred.
Much as ICANN will delegate the .africa domain, the case is still active, the judge wrote that the .Africa gTLD can be re-delegated to DCA in the event DCA prevails in this litigation.
The case was remanded to State court from the Federal court following an appeal by ICANN and ZACR due to lack of jurisdiction. It is not comprehensible however how the judge changed his mind after giving his tentative ruling in favor of DCA after analyzing the legal submissions. The judge mentioned “the excellent arguments of DCA counsel” but instead adopted the tentative ruling in full in favor of ICANN.
In July 2015 DotConnectAfrica won in an Independent Review Process. The IRP Panel had unanimously ruled “that both the actions and inactions of the Board with respect to the application of DCA Trust relating to the .AFRICA gTLD were inconsistent with the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of ICANN”; and further recommended that ICANN should continue to refrain from delegating the .AFRICA gTLD to ZACR and that ICANN bear the totality of the costs of the IRP and the totality of the costs of the IRP provider.
The case is yet to resolve and it appears will take longer since both parties will be engaged in counter arguments that may result in a re-delegation to DCA should it win.