ICANN has finally been able to delegate the .africa new gTLD to ZA Central Registry following the rejection of a request for a preliminary injunction brought in a Los Angeles court by rival applicant DotConnectAfrica. The injunction was sought to prevent ICANN delegating the new gTLD.
The ZACR application was supported by over 75% of African countries, well above the ICANN requirement of the 60% support needed. In addition, the ZACR bid was endorsed by the African Union Commission.
“The California Superior Court has ruled that a ‘covenant not to sue’ found in the .africa domain application likely bars claims by applicant DotConnectAfrica Trust against ICANN for alleged fraud and unfair business practices,” reported Bloomberg BNA. “The court rejected DCA Trust’s bid to stop ICANN from granting competing applicant ZA Central Registry the rights to .africa until the case is resolved.”
It was the second time a judge had ruled in favour of ICANN to allow the delegation of a new gTLD and “uphold an important piece of the legal framework underlying ICANN’s expansion of the domain name space. Under the covenant, internet domain applicants agree not to challenge ICANN decisions in court. They instead must rely on ICANN’s accountability mechanisms, such as the reconsideration and independent review processes.”
ICANN had previously rejected the DCA bid due to, in part, a lack of support from African countries. But it may not be the end as DCA has been reluctant to step down from the fight even when repeated decisions going against them with the court case ongoing for around one year.