Who Owns

France is a state., by contrast, is a domain name, and it was, until recently, owned not by the French state but instead by a Californian company,, Inc. That conflict is now being litigated in a fascinating dispute  reminiscent of the early days of the internet.

In those early days, in 1994 to be precise, a French-born individual living in the United States, Jean-Noël Frydman, registered the domain name The domain name is now held by a Californian company, Inc, which Frydman set up. The website, at first dedicated to general information for Francophiles around the world, was later expanded to operate as a travel site. But, Inc, did not, it appears, own trademarks in Europe. This enabled a Dutch company, Traveland Resorts, to register French and European word and graphic marks for in 2010. In 2014,, Inc brought suit in France against Traveland for fraudulent filings of trademarks and achieved a settlement under which Traveland transferred the trademarks.

The Supreme Court deals the death blow to US Human Rights Litigation

Written by Bastian Brunk, research assistant and doctoral student at the Institute for Comparative and Private International Law at the University of Freiburg (Germany)

On April 24, the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in Jesner v Arab Bank (available here; see also the pre-decision analysis by Hannah Dittmers linked here and first thoughts after the decision of Amy Howe here) and, in a 5:4 majority vote, shut the door that it had left ajar in its Kiobel decision. Both cases are concerned with the question whether private corporations may be sued under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). (more…)

No handshake, no citizenship – but with a second wife, everything’s fine?

Two recent judgments of European courts have highlighted the difficulty in finding the right balance between the cultural assimilation of Muslim immigrants demanded by national laws on citizenship and the necessary degree of tolerance towards foreign laws and customs. In a widely reported decision of 11 April 2018, the French Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) ruled that a naturalisation of an Algerian-born woman could be revoked because she had refused to shake hands with a male public servant during the naturalisation ceremony. (more…)


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Conflict of Laws and the Internet

Pedro de Miguel Asensio from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid has published a book on Conflict of laws and the Internet. The publisher’s blurb reads as follows:
The ubiquity of the Internet contrasts with the territorial nature of national legal orders. This book offers a comprehensive analysis of jurisdiction, choice of law and enforcement of judgments issues concerning online activities in the areas in which private legal relationships are most affected by the Internet. It provides an in-depth study of EU Law in this particularly dynamic field, with references to major developments in other jurisdictions. Topics comprise information society services, data protection, defamation, copyright, trademarks, unfair competition and contracts, including consumer protection and alternative dispute resolution.
Key features include:
  • comprehensive analysis of the complex conflict of laws issues that arise in connection with Internet activities

Brexit and Cross-Border Insolvency

The latest issue of the Italian Journal Diritto del commercio internazionale (34.1/2020) features an article (in English) on “Brexit and Cross-Border Insolvency Looking Beyond the Withdrawal Agreement” written by Antonio Leandro (University of Bari).

The abstract of the article reads as follows: “The UK and the EU have concluded the Withdrawal Agreement which officially triggers the so-called Brexit. However, the real effects of the Brexit still are unclear, at least as regards the future following the end of the transition period provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement during which the UK will be treated as if it were a Member State. After the transition period, mini hard Brexit(s) are in fact likely for matters currently governed by the EU Law that the Parties will not want to relocate in new legal frameworks, such as bilateral treaties. The paper addresses the consequences of a mini hard Brexit for cross-border insolvency proceedings involving the UK and the Member States with the aim to explain why this specter should be avoided”.