First steps of the French new dispute resolution system (SYRELI) for domain names

On October 6, 2010, the French constitutional Council sounded the death knell of section L.45 of the Code of the Postal and Electronic Communications which set up rules for the allocation and management of domain names with an extension in <.fr>[1]. By declaring this latter unconstitutional because it did not efficiently guarantee fundamental rights, the Council left domain names’ holders, without an alternative French extrajudicial procedure. Indeed, the old PARL (alternative disputes resolution procedure concerning domain names with an extension in <.fr> and <.re>) administered by the WIPO and the PREDEC (resolution procedure of clear infringement of the Decree dated of February 6, 2007) managed by the AFNIC, needed to be replaced. Those latter were respectively suspended on April 15 and May 15, 2011.

In this context, the AFNIC announced on its website, on last November 3, 2011, that its new system of dispute resolution called SYRELI, had been approved by the Minister for Electronic Communications[2]. After the complainant demonstrated a cause of action to require that a domain name managed by AFNIC be cancelled or transferred, the office will decide within two months of receipt of the complaint[3].

After being launched on November 21, 2011, SYRELI first decision was pronounced less than a month later.

A conflict opposed a company to its manager. When this latter was dismissed, he retained the domain name <> which he previously booked and used to manage so far, thus depriving the company to any access to its various mail accounts hosted on said domain name. To the support of company’s request regarding that this latter be transferred, the company claimed that its intellectual property and personality rights were infringed. Indeed, the company name which was registered on August 16, 2010, is Infragenius and the two French trademark registrations “INFRAGENIUS” and “INFRAGENIUS, inventeur de solutions”, respectfully registered on August 17 and 18, 2011, were its own. “In view of the parts supplied, the Panel of [AFNIC] considered that the Complainant [actually] had a cause of action”[4]. Therein lies the issue. Indeed, the reservation of the domain name in dispute is dated of June 25, 2010, that is to say long before both the registrations of the company name and the trademarks. Therefore, the Complainant didn’t seem to have prior right and consequently no cause of action; even though under section 31 of the French Code of Civil Procedure, a cause of action, is the first condition to make an action admissible. Fundamental though this condition is, the AFNIC seems to have completely ignored this latter on the occasion of its first SYRELI decision. Fortunately, this mistake won’t have any effect, since the Respondent gave his consent to transfer the domain name to the Complainant; the AFNIC had only to endorse the agreement between the parties.

If the first SYRELI decision is lacking of clarity in the chronology of events[5], this new system must be practiced. However, this situation urges caution.


[1] Cons. Const. Décision n°2010-45 QPC du 6 octobre 2010

[2] L’AFNIC lance SYRELI, le nouveau Système de Résolution de Litiges,

[3] DREYFUS Nathalie, Marques et Internet, Edition Lamy, 2011

[4] SYRELI n°FR2011-00001, Société Infragenius c/ Martin B, available at

[5] Ibid note 3