The evil of granting companies property rights to IP numbers

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:



I wrote a blog entry about some of these issues.

IANA specifically states that a free-market of IP addresses would be harmful, instead they argue that IP allocation should be based on need and not treated as property.

>ISPs are required to utilize address space in an efficient manner. To this end, ISPs should have documented justification available for each assignment. The regional registry may, at any time, ask for this information. If the information is not available, future allocations may be impacted. In extreme cases, existing loans may be impacted. RFC 2050

Big companies have fought them on this and won.

>The court held that Nortel had an exclusive right to use the legacy numbers. The court also explicitly sanctioned Nortel’s exclusive right to transfer its exclusive right to use the numbers. In recognizing Nortel’s exclusive right to use legacy IPv4 numbers, the court implicitly found that Nortel had the exclusive right to possess the numbers themselves. Consequently, Nortel could exclude others from possession and use of the same legacy IPv4 numbers. In other words, the court found Nortel possessed the customary “bundle of rights” commonly associated with the ownership of tangible or intangible property. – Property Rights in IPv4 Numbers: Recognizing a New Form of Intellectual Property