About The Dispute
A dispute arose between AfriNIC, the regional Internet registry for Africa, and Cloud Innovation an obscure company registered in Seychelles. This occurred after AfriNIC attempted to seize over 6 million Internet Protocol addresses from Cloud Innovation. The Internet Protocol Addresses were worth an estimated R1.8 billion.
Based on documents released by Cloud Innovation, Afrinic contended that the company was in breach of its Registration Service Agreement for the following reasons:
- The records Cloud Innovation provided for its IP address blocks in the AfriNIC Whois database are inconsistent with its use.
- Cloud Innovation is no longer using its IP address blocks for the purposes it stipulated when it applied for them.
- Most of Cloud Innovation’s IP address space was used outside the Afrinic service region.
Cloud Innovation’s Response
However, Cloud Innovation founder Lu Heng maintained that there was nothing in Afrinic’s policies at the time of the award that restricted where and how they were allowed to use the IP addresses.
Cloud Innovation consequently, applied for an urgent injunction against AfriNIC to block the Internet registry from confiscating its IP addresses, which was granted on 13 July 2021.
Mauritius Supreme Court Verdict
Based on documents provided by Cloud Innovation, AfriNIC failed to comply with the injunction. A judge, therefore, warned the registry’s legal team that the court would hold it in contempt.AfriNIC then reinstated Cloud Innovation’s membership and restored its IP address blocks on 15 July.
Cloud Innovation, thereafter lodged a claim for damages against AfriNIC.On 23 July, It received a garnishee order that allowed it to attach up to $50 million from the registry’s bank accounts. According to the company, its damages claim was for “unlawful termination and illegal acts and doings against Cloud Innovation”.
In enforcing the court order, Cloud Innovation effectively froze Afrinic’s accounts.