Domain name disputes typically occur between trademark owners and domain name registrants over allegations of cybersquatting or between trademark owners and website developers, employees, partners over domain name theft and hijacking. And this first of its kind litigation case, the pornography industry attorneys have filed a lawsuit directly against ICANN alleging monopolistic conduct, price gouging, anticompetitive behavior and unfair business practices for establishing the .XXX top-level domain name (“TLD”), which is supposed to be the new home of adult content. Trademark owners are bemoaning the .XXX TLD because of the exorbitant price being charged in order to defensively register your trademarks on the XXX TLD in order to avoid pornographic sites engaged in trademark cybersquatting. The whole thing smells like a money grab by ICANN. If a trademark owner fails to register its trademark as a .XXX TLD, the risk of brand harm is real and significant.
Domain owners are already cashing in on registering solid, generic .XXX domains, and then reselling them for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California is included in full below. Note the antitrust (Sherman Act) violations alleged in addition to unfair competition.