A Los Angeles-based consumer law firm has filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging that a Marina del Rey company that regulates Internet domain names and another company that registers domain names have prevented people from purchasing domain names from cheaper competitors.

A lawsuit filed by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, alleges that Network Solutions, which registers domain names, has forced people to buy the names from them, netting the firm millions of dollars.

The lawsuit claims that the scheme is made possible by Marina del Rey-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which regulates domain names and other Internet protocols.

Network Solutions immediately registers the domain name for itself whenever someone searches the availability of a name on its Web site, preventing other companies from selling the name and forcing consumers to pay its expensive fees, Kabateck Brown Kellner spokesman Yusef Robb alleged.

“Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand,” said Brian Kabateck, lead counsel in the class action lawsuit.

Network Solutions charged the lawsuit’s lead plaintiff $34.99 to register a domain name, while a competitor would have charged $9.99, Robb said.

The suit claims that Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ policies facilitate the scheme by allowing companies that sell domain names to avoid paying registration fees for names canceled within five days, Robb said.

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