DotConnectAfrica, first applicant under the New gTLD program to take its case with ICANN to an Independent Review Panel (IRP) Process

DotConnectAfrica in a published Press Release yesterday  announced that its Amended Notice of IRP is the latest step towards resolution of the dispute between ICANN and DCA Trust over ICANN Board decisions and actions taken with regard to DCA Trust’s application for the .africa new gTLD.

Notice further says ICANN is committed to publishing documents filed throughout IRP Proceedings on its website.  Currently DCA Trust’s original Notice of IRP from October 2013 is available by selecting “Accountability and Transparency” on the ICANN site and scrolling down to “Independent Review Process”:

While this IRP filing case will be the third time after the ICM Registry, this will be the first case filed under ICANN’s new structured gTLD program. ICM Registry applied and  won its landmark case in 2009  for  .xxx .  Manwin Licensing International SARL agreed to settle a lawsuit in California federal court in which the adult website operator alleged that ICM Registry LLC registered the “.xxx” top-level Internet domain through an anti-competitive process last year.

DotConnectAfrica has been involved in many fights with its competitor Uniforum over cases that involve conflict of interest between parties such as the Africa Union for its involvement as a party to the Uniforum instead of being an endorser, as well as dotAfrica Taskforce who were made up of people that have vested interest in the outcome of the bid for .Africa.   Other pertinent Conflict of interest cases involve two ICANN board members who were are alleged to be in support of Uniforum or have had past arm length relationship with the other .africa applicant, who after DCA’s complaint to ICANN Ombudsman updated their Statement of Interest.

This may certainly set out to be another epic case that according to the press release, is in consistency with the ICANN Bylaws and/or Articles of Incorporation. The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (“ICDR”), the international arm of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) provides institutional support for the ICANN IRP process, and the procedure of the IRP will be governed by the ICDR Rules and a set of Supplementary Procedures agreed upon between the ICDR and ICANN to govern IRPs.

The ICM .xxx case took a long time to be settled but eventually it was delegated.  DCA Trust would set the record for being the first aggrieved gTLD applicant to take ICANN to IRP and the new gTLD industry will definitely be watching how the case will go.

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