Nissan the car company never really cared who Uzi Nissan was. Then it decided he had something it wanted very much—the website www.nissan.com, which he created for his small retail computer business in 1994—and it sued him for $10 million. When the two Nissans went to war, Uzi Nissan prevailed in the end, but lost almost everything along the way.
If you visit nissan.com expecting a polished presentation of Nissan’s latest lineup, you’re in for quite a shock. What you land in is Uzi Nissan’s corner of the internet; a shrine to the years of his life spent fighting what is now the largest car company on the planet.
You’re greeted with a straight-out-of-the-’90s web design with 3D-effect link buttons, minimal advertising, crossed-out Nissan Motor badges and a Nissan Computer logo design that seems to resemble a stamped business card.
If you further postpone your quest to get a quote on an Altima or a Rogue Sport and spend time to explore the site, you find pages and pages of articles on the Nissan Motor vs. Nissan Computer lawsuit, taught in business schools and law schools as one of the most notable domain cases from the age of the dotcom bubble.
“The study there is that you should first have your domain before you decide your name of business, and in law school it’s just to show that sometimes even the little guy can win,” he said.
At the time, it didn’t seem like the start of an all-consuming legal battle, a David vs. Goliath fight that took nearly 10 years and cost the small business owner millions of dollars—to say nothing of the incalculable toll on his personal life.
The story is well told and shows you how ridiculous it is that this guy who clearly had prior ownership to the Nissan name and domain name had to pony up near to $3m and 8 years of his life to keep what is rightfully his. There is no punishment for the big guy throwing resources to wast another person’s time and money in the courts.