The former owner of France.com continues his fight – Domain Name Wire

A man who lost his domain name to France files a petition to bench rehearing.

Jean-Noël Frydman is not done fighting to regain control of France.com, a domain name he registered in 1994.

Frydman lost control of the domain name in 2018 after the French government presented a Paris Court of Appeal decision to Web.com, and Web.com transferred the domain to France.

The French Republic claimed the exclusive right to use the term “France” for commercial purposes, claiming that under French law the name “France” cannot be appropriated or used for commercial purposes by a private company because it violates the exclusive right of the French Republic to its name and undermines its sovereignty.

Frydman sued, but successive U.S. courts dealt blows to his quest to reclaim the estate. In a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals, the Court recognized that the French government enjoyed sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Now Frydman has asked the appeals court to bench rehearing. A bench the rehearing in the Court of Appeal takes place when the full court considers the case (rather than the three-judge panel) because the decision conflicts with other decisions of that court or a decision of the Supreme Court . [Update: the court rejected the request for rehearing.]

The new file (pdf) states:

The Panel’s opinion conflicts with supervisory authority and authoritative decisions in other circuits and raises questions of exceptional importance regarding (1) the ability of U.S. citizens to enforce trademark rights against foreign sovereigns in the United States, (2) the supremacy of U.S. law, (3) the role of U.S. courts in protecting U.S.-based property and property rights, and (4) the enforceability of United States intellectual property rights.