Judge argued that sovereign immunity required discovery first.
A case over ownership of France.com is moving forward, now with a side trip to a U.S. appeals court.
Jean-Noël Frydman, who registered France.com in 1994, lost control of the domain name to the country of France after France intervened in a court case. Frydman was in a legal battle with an unrelated entity over trademarks when the French government intervened in the case and convinced a court to transfer France.com to it.
(Hear about the saga directly from Frydman in DNW Podcast #184.)
Frydman sued in U.S. court to get the domain back.
France and its related entities filed a motion to dismiss on three grounds:
1. It had sovereign immunity
2. The plaintiff was seeking to re-litigate a judgment rendered by a competent foreign court
3. The case failed to state a cause of action
United States District Judge Liam O’Grady granted (pdf) the motion to dismiss for several of the French entities (including the French Republic) because the Complaint lacked sufficient factual allegations to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
However, O’Grady said the issue of sovereign immunity would best be raised after discover has concluded.
He also gave Frydman’s company 30 days to file an amended complaint.
But France immediately appealed (pdf) the decision on immunity and asked the district court to stay further proceedings.
Meanwhile, Frydman doesn’t have his domain name.