After over two decades of ownership, a California man lost the ‘France.com’ domain name to the French government. The man decided to sue France in a U.S. court last week, claiming that the seizure lacks justification and costs him millions of dollars.
The former owner, Jean-Noël Frydman, who lives in California, bought the domain name in 1994 in the Internet’s early days. He says he turned the website into a successful business from scratch.
A few years ago, France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sued Frydman to strip him of the name, as the French government wanted the France.com domain. That lawsuit was without success, and if you launch a google-search for the domain name you will be directed to the country’s official website, France.fr instead.
According to court documents, the California man owned the domain starting 1994 and use it for commercial purposes. He now wants the ownership and possession of the “rightfully obtained” property back.
The Man’s Complaint
The man complains that France unlawfully seized his property and offered no compensation in return. Frydman claims that he was affected by “irreparable harm” while the French government benefited from “unjust enrichment.”
The plaintiff claims that the domain name is now worth millions of dollars, and the seizure has caused millions of dollars more in lost profits.
Last year, the French government seized the domain name via a request to the domain provider, Web.com. The move came after a French court’s decision claiming that the domain violated the country’s trademark laws. It is unclear how a U.S. court would solve the case.
The former owner, however, is poised to fight the seizure in U.S. courts. He recently told Ars Technica that the Frech took the domain without any notice as he wasn’t aware of any cases against the company.
I’ve never been treated like that by any company anywhere in the world,
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