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France seized France.com from a man who owned it for 20 years — so he’s suing his country

A French-born American who resides in New York and first registered France.com in 1994 has filed a lawsuit to reclaim the domain name he believes he had rightfully obtained

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 10:20am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 May, 2018, 10:20am

By Sam Meredith

he former owner of France.com has filed a lawsuit against his home country after the domain name, which he had used for more than two decades, was expropriated.

Jean-Noel Frydman, a French-born American who resides in New York, first registered the domain name France.com on February 10, 1994. The site, which was launched almost 18 months later, was created to serve as a “digital kiosk” for France-lovers based in the U.S .

For over 20 years, Frydman’s website steadily built up its profile and often collaborated with official French agencies — including the Consulate General in Los Angeles and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Frydman claims the French government was aware of France.com’s activities and frequently supported its initiatives.

However, in April 2015, France launched legal proceedings in order to try to expropriate the domain name. The French government said Frydman’s business had created France.com in bad faith and was not authorised by the state to use it.

Cybersquatting

Following a three-year legal battle in France, Frydman eventually lost the rights to the company and France.com was transferred to the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March 2018.

In response, Frydman filed a lawsuit to reclaim the domain name he believes he had rightfully obtained. The lawsuit accuses France of cybersquatting France.com and “reverse domain-name hijacking” the rights away from its original owner.

The France.com website currently redirects to the English version of the France.fr website.

Read the original article at CNBC