Former France.com domain owner asks Supreme Court to consider case

Former France.com domain owner asks Supreme Court to consider case

Jean-Noël Frydman, who owned France.com from 1994 until 2018, wants the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.

Image of a Surpreme Court filing with the words In the Supreme Court of the United States FRANCE.COM, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. THE FRENCH REPUBLIC; ATOUT FRANCE; THE MINISTRY FOR EUROPE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS; FRANCE.COM, A DOMAIN NAME, Respondents.

Jean-Noël Frydman hasn’t given up yet.

The businessman who registered France.com in 1994 has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a dispute over the France.com domain name.

In 2014, Frydman’s company France.com, Inc. filed a lawsuit in Paris against a Dutch company alleging trademark infringement of France.com. The French Republic and its tourism agency, Atout France, intervened in the matter.

The French government convinced successive courts that the government — not someone in the U.S. — should own France.com. The government asserted the exclusive right to use the term “France” commercially, contending that under French law, the name “France” cannot be appropriated or used commercially by a private enterprise because doing so violates the French Republic’s exclusive right to its name and infringes on its sovereignty.

In 2018, the French government presented a copy of the Paris Court of Appeals decision over France.com to Web.com, and Web.com transferred the domain to it.

Frydman sued in U.S. court in 2018. The French government convinced the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that the French government has sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Frydman petitioned the appeals court for en banc rehearing but was rejected.

Not deterred, Frydman has petitioned for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s been a long fight for Frydman, but it’s not surprising given the incredible value of this domain name and the business he operated.

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