The ruling indicates that:
the judge in chambers does not have the power to order the transfer of a .fr domain name;
the provisions of the decree do not apply to the domain name sunshine.fr, which was registered before the decree came into force;
the judge will have to examine the grounds for summoning AFNIC in disputes about .fr domain names by those with legal claims, since AFNIC simply carries out the legal rulings handed down to it.
AFNIC welcomes this ruling, which strengthens legal security for holders and clarifies the legal framework in France.
In confirming the application of the decree of 6 February 2007, the Court of Cassation implicitly backs up the implementation by AFNIC of the resolutions procedure for cases of obvious breaches of the provisions of the decree of 6 February 2007, aimed at making possible the sanctioning of clear violations of the decree.
This ruling makes it clear that the provisions of the decree do not apply to registrations made before 7 February 2007, while recognising that there is a special situation for French public authority domain names. Article R.20-44-43 of the decree explicitly sets out specific renewal conditions for public authorities.
AFNIC will take this important case law into account, as it regularly does, in legal reference documents and in its procedures, and restates its commitment to applying legal rulings without it being necessary for it to be summoned.
For further information
Ruling of the Court of Cassation of 9 June 2009
Decree of 6 February 2007, on French ccTLDs
Information on Dispute resolution procedure for obvious breaches of the decree provisions, set up by AFNIC.
(Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération )
Non-profit organization, AFNIC is in charge of the administrative and technical management of the .fr (France) and .re (Reunion Island) Internet domain names.
AFNIC brings together public and private members: representatives from the French government, Internet users and Internet Service Providers (Registrars).
Afnic is the acronym for Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération, the French Network Information Centre. The registry has been appointed by the French government to manage domain names under the .fr Top Level Domain. Afnic also manages the .re (Reunion Island), .pm (Saint-Pierre and Miquelon), .tf (French Southern and Antarctic Territories), .wf (Wallis and Futuna) and .yt (Mayotte) French Overseas TLDs.
In addition to managing French TLDs, Afnic’s role is part of a wider public interest mission, which is to contribute on a daily basis, thanks to the efforts of its teams and its members, to a secure and stable internet, open to innovation and in which the French internet community plays a leading role. As part of that mission, Afnic, a non-profit organization, has committed to devoting 11% of its Revenues from managing .fr Top Level Domain to actions of general interest, in particular by transferring €1.3 million each year to the Afnic Foundation for Digital Solidarity.
Afnic is also the back-end registry for the companies as well as local and regional authorities that have chosen to have their own TLD, such as .paris, .bzh, .alsace, .corsica, .mma, .ovh, .leclerc and .sncf.
Established in 1997 and based in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Afnic currently has nearly 90 employees.