Jean-Noel Frydman filed suit against the French Government in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on April 19, 2018. Frydman, an American citizen born in France, sued the French government, Atout France (France’s tourism agency), the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Frydman has owned the France.com domain since February 10, 1994. The site was launched as a “digital kiosk” for Francophiles and Francophones living in the United States. Frydman used the site and domain to create a business, France.com, Inc., that often worked with official French agencies such as the Consulate General in Los Angeles and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs filed a lawsuit in France trying to expropriate the domain from Frydman. In September 2017, the Paris Court of Appeals ruled that the domain was in violation of French trademark law. On March 12, 2018, Web.com transferred ownership of the domain to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, without formally notifying or compensating Frydman.
Frydman’s lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia accuses the French government of “reverse domain-name hijacking.”
France.com owner sues after government seizes website, United Press International, Inc. (April 30, 2018)