1 July 2016

East Africa: Court Denies Zacr Motion for Reconsideration On Preliminary Injunction for DCA

A United States District Court, Central District of California sitting under US District Judge Gary Klausner on June 20 ruled against ZACR Motion for Reconsideration on the Preliminary Injuction that was granted to DCA Trust in 12 April 2016.

This means that the court will proceed to full trial. ICANN had also joined in support of ZACR's Motion and thus the court order means both ZACR and ICANN have lost a significant fight.

According to the Court Statement DotConnectAfrica Trust ("Plaintiff") had filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") against Defendants Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN"), and ZA Central Registry ("ZACR") (collectively "Defendants") On February 26, 2016.

The action arises out of a dispute involving the delegation of rights related to the .Africa top-level domain. On March 4, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for TRO, enjoining ICANN from issuing the .Africa top-level domain until the Court decided Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

On April 12, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, keeping the injunction in place until resolution of the action. On the other hand ZACR filed a Motion to Dismiss all claims asserted against it.

On May 6, 2016, ZACR filed the current Motion for Reconsideration regarding the Court's Order re Preliminary Injunction.

ICANN joined this motion on May 10, 2016. Since then, the Court has granted ZACR's Motion to Dismiss in its entirety, thereby extinguishing ZACR's role a party to the action. Therefore, the Court denies as moot ZACR's motion for reconsideration, and addresses the motion only as it pertains to ICANN.

The Court also stated that they found "ICANN's arguments unavailing" citing this on three main reasons which are:

One Erroneous Finding of Fact; the court stated that at this stage of litigation, it is reasonable to infer that the IRP Panel found that ICANN's rejection of Plaintiff's application at the geographic names evaluation phase was improper, and that the application should proceed to the delegation phase... The Court finds that the error in its factual finding was not determinative to its ultimate conclusion that there are serious questions going toward Plaintiff's likelihood of success on the merits."

On the second issue which alleged misrepresentation of facts regarding irreparable injury, the court stated that "ICANN failed to make this argument in its opposition to Plaintiff's Motionfor Preliminary Injunction."

On the third issue of posting of a bond by DCA, the court ruled that even here, "ICANN failed to make any argument or showing of costs or damages in its initial opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction."

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