What's In A Domain Name? Raleigh Man Being Sued By Automaker
Posted May 20, 2002 1:58 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Many business owners inject a little bit of themselves into the company name like Jones' Hardware or Smith's Pharmacy, but what do you do if your name is Nissan? A Raleigh man is being sued over the right to use his name for his Web sites.
Most people who type Nissan.com expect to see something about a car, but instead they get a Raleigh company called Nissan Computer Corp. Owner Uzi Nissan has adorned his family name on his company and several others since coming from Israel 25 years ago.
"I was born with this name. My father [and] my grandfather are born with this name," he said. "Nissan is a biblical term. It's the seventh month in the Jewish calendar."
His companies had no trouble prior to the mid-1980s, when the familiar Datsun name was replaced by Nissan, but several years after setting up Nissan.com and Nissan.net, the Nissan company sued Uzi Nissan for $10 million.
"They're a huge company. They bury me with papers. They bury me with attorneys, you know. They don't care," Nissan said.
Nissan North America said in a
, "Global consumers identify the Nissan name with our vehicles and we must do everything possible to insure the information they receive on the Internet is accurate and official." Uzi Nissan said he set up the Web sites in 1994 and denies having any inkling what a problem it would cause.
"At that time, nobody knew what the Internet would do. In 1994 to the best of my knowledge, there were no domain name speculators," Nissan said.
Uzi Nissan won the cyber-squatting case against him involving his Web sites, but the automobile company did win a trademark infringement suit against him. There is another trademark case involving these two adversaries sharing the same name coming up in October.