In the early days of the internet where companies had yet to hop onto the internet bandwagon and create an online presence for themselves, there were some opportunists who registered domain names belonging to companies which were eventually sold back to these companies for huge sums of money.


That is called cybersquatting, but in an interesting turn of events, a man from France is suing his government over the seizure of the domain which he has owned since 1994, alleging that they are cybersquatting and “reverse domain-name hijacking”. Jean-Noël Frydman had purchased the domain back in the mid 1990s where it was used as a “digital kiosks” for Francophiles and Francophones living in the US.

Over the past couple of decades, Frydman built up a business around the domain and even worked with various official French agencies, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who in 2015 filed a lawsuit against Frydman and seized the domain that he had owned for the past 24 years or so. The Paris Court of Appeals had ruled that violated French trademark law.

However like we said, Frydman has since filed a lawsuit against the French government. According to the complaint he filed, “Defendants did not approach Plaintiff to purchase or license the domain, the trademark, or Plaintiff’s underlying business and goodwill. Instead, in 2015, Defendants misused the French judicial system to seize the domain from Plaintiff without compensation, under the erroneous theory that Defendants were inherently entitled to take the domain because it included the word ‘France.’”

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