Paris wins legal battle in US over France.com

Released Monday, December 13, 2021 at 9:37 pm.

The Supreme Court on Monday put a firm end to lawsuits filed in the United States against France by a Franco-American businessman who wanted to recover a France.com domain name.

The U.S. High Court has refused to accept the appeal of Jean-Noel Friedman, who accused France of “embezzling” US property law.

The High Court’s denial upholds the Federal Court of Appeals’ ruling in March that Paris could not be prosecuted on U.S. soil in this case because of its “sovereign immunity”.

A French foreigner in the United States, Mr. Friedman registered the domain name France.com in 1994, whereas the Internet was only a secret site. Its database for Francophones and Francophiles living in the United States was transformed into an online travel agency for the American people in 1997.

In an interview with AFP, he vowed to send “100,000 to 150,000” tourists to France in almost 20 years, and in 2015 the French government asked for the name France.com to be restored.

Captured by France, the Paris court ordered the transfer of the domain name to the state in 2016, a decision confirmed on appeal in September 2017. Then Mr. Friedman appealed to the Supreme Court.

Without waiting for the outcome of this appeal, Web.com, which managed the IP address, changed its name to the French state.

“To correct the mistakes made in his business”, the businessman then returned to American justice, in vain.

Today, France.com automatically redirects to France.fr, the official portal for tourism in France.

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