Man who lost domain name to France files petition for en banc rehearing.
Jean-Noël Frydman isn’t 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 Appeals decision to Web.com, and Web.com transferred the domain to France.
The French Republic asserted the exclusive right to use the term “France” commercially, contending that under French law, the name “France” cannot be appropriated or used commercially by a private enterprise because doing so violates the French Republic’s exclusive right to its name and infringes on its sovereignty.
Frydman sued, but successive U.S. courts have delivered blows to his pursuit of getting the domain back. In a recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision, the court agreed that the French government has sovereign immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
Now, Frydman has petitioned the appeals court for en banc rehearing. An en banc rehearing in appeals court is when the full court considers the case (rather than the three-judge panel) because the decision conflicts with other decisions by that court or a Supreme Court decision. [Update: the court rejected the request for rehearing.]
The new filing (pdf) states:
The Panel’s opinion conflicts with controlling authority and authoritative decisions in other Circuits and raises questions of exceptional importance regarding (1) United States citizens’ ability to enforce trademark rights against foreign sovereigns within the United States, (2) the supremacy of United States law, (3) the role of United States Courts in protecting United States-based property and property rights, and (4) the enforceability of United States intellectual property rights.