Nortel, in bankruptcy, sells IPv4 address block for $7.5 million

William Herrin bill at
Thu Mar 24 14:05:51 CDT 2011

On Thu, Mar 24, 2011 at 2:32 PM, Ernie Rubi <ernesto at> wrote:
> Even assuming Kremen was decided as ARIN says; United States District Courts
> can and do disagree.

Hi Ernie,

The case you refer to was a dispute about a trademark which the a
particular domain name infringed. The court's theory was that the
property right in the trademark (well documented in law) covered the
domain name too (fresh precedent). So while a court could disagree
about IP addresses, it's not really accurate to say that one has.

As you acknowledge in your paper, no such extension of existing
intellectual property law has been proposed to cover any particular
formulation of integers, including IP addresses. At least within the
US, article I section 8 clause 8 would seem to preclude the courts
from recognizing intellectual property outside the rationally
extensible bounds of what the congress has defined. So it's not really
clear under what theory of property law a court would choose to compel
ARIN to transfer a legacy registration while retaining legacy status.

Indeed, you point out that in a similar situation - telephone numbers
- the courts have steadfastly refused to recognize a property

Finally, in the case you refer to, the result was a change in party in
an explicit signed contract. No such document has been executed
between ARIN and the legacy registrants or between those registrants
and ARIN's predecessors. The absence of any such legal instrument sets
a high bar indeed for anyone attempting to compel ARIN to change a
registration outside the course of ARIN's normal policy-defined
process. It can't even be tortious interference as the parties knew or
should have known ARIN's stance before they began talking.

Now, if congress tomorrow passes a bill that says IP addresses are a
new form of intellectual property then they're property henceforward
and the legal regime underpinning ARIN falls apart. But that hasn't
happened yet. It hasn't even been proposed.

On a technical note, your URLs will work more reliably if you don't
put spaces in the file names. Although Google Gmail is probably the
party at fault, your URL got translated to "+"'s instead of spaces.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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