They've given you a number, and taken away your name
Date: Tuesday May 14 2002, @02:12AM
Topic: Lawsuits and Judicial Decisions

fnord writes "And the number is a potential bill in the millions, as in US dollars. Uzi Nissan, who was born with that name 50 years ago, incorporated Nissan Computer Corp in North Carolina in 1991. In 1994 he registered nissan.com. Uzi received one letter from a certain Nissan Motor's senior legal counsel in 1995 expressing "concern" about his domain. Uzi chose not to respond. He then heard nothing from Nissan Motors for about 5 years until he was sued by Nissan Motors for $10,000,000 US, and to restrain him from using his name for business purposes on the internet.

Uzi has recently provided an update on the ongoing case, he's won on some points and lost on others. The remaining claim of dilution is set for jury trial in Los Angeles federal court in October 2002. Not to put too fine a point on it, this case really ticks me off."

Where did we pass the point where we should have disallowed such rich but clueless megacorps from stumbling onto the infobahn and disrupting traffic? It must have been awhile ago.

For example, Nissan Motor Co., now at nissandriven.com, tells me to ditch my extremely HTML compliant Opera 6 browser as: The browser you are using will not allow you to fully enjoy NissanDriven.com. I think I'll pass, thanks. If Nissan Motor Corp had simply ignored Uzi then typing Nissan Motor in Google would not have resulted in Uzi showing up twice in the first ten hits. Who is responsible for that dilution?

Uzi claims that his case has received no national media attention because of Nissan's huge advertising budget (Uzi says that amounts to $400,000,000 in the US alone). I'm not convinced that is happening, there are many somewhat similar cases out there that don't receive widespread coverage unless there is a further hook than some Jane or Joe Average being done over by a huge corporation. There just isn't that much newsprint.

I also compare it to the similar Armani case that only received widespread coverage after (in that rare instance) David actually slew Goliath, or at least kicked him in the britches. BTW, armani.com now rather incongruously resolves to whistler.com, a ski resort north of Vancouver where A. R. Mani, and I, hang our snow shoes.

Regardless, if the mainstream media won't handle it, there's always the internet. It did receive WIRED coverage 18 months ago (with Jonathan Zittrain betting on RealNames Nissan...oh well). Yesterday the story made Declan McCullagh's politech list (but at time of writing doesn't appear in the archives). And hence this submission to ICANNWatch.

Memo to Nissan Motor Co.:

1. Domain names aren't worth what they used to be (and they probably never were).

2. Uzi might not have $10 million (perhaps he already lost it in a trademark lawsuit with a machine gun manufacturer).

Therefore at what point does the loss in good will pull out and pass any potential benefit? It must have been awhile ago.

-g, another number you'll never count as a customer.

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Re: They've given you a number, and taken away you
by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Tuesday May 14 2002, @07:25AM (#6325)
User #2810 Info
Declan McCullagh's politechbot article is now archived. And politech has since sent out a story about a criminal claiming copyright on his name:
Since he was arrested in January, James -- who claims he copyrighted Frederick James -- tabulated that judges and his own public defender have used his name 302 times in court proceedings. So he sent a bill to U.S. District Judge Michael J. Reagan for $151 million.
He's charging $500,000 per usage. Now if Uzi did that... -g
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Nissan Motors Unlawfully Overreach Trademark
by WIPOorgUK on Tuesday May 14 2002, @11:14PM (#6343)
User #3146 Info | http://wipo.org.uk/
When Nissan Motors tried to take nissan.com from Mr Nissan, their spokesman said "We registered nissancomputer.com and offered it to him for free, but he has no interest in being Nissan Computer -- his real name"

But surely, they have nissanmotors.com - so is it not EXACTLY the same as them having no interest in being Nissan Motors -- their real name?

IANAL but Nissan act unlawfully by overreaching their trademark - they cannot claim all occurances of the word 'nissan'. It is against the Law for them to prevent others from doing using the word in business - if they are not acting unlawfully (which Mr Nissan is not).

The authorities know the solution to trademark conflict and consumer confusion on the Internet. It is therefore logical to conclude that the US DoC and UN WIPO are corrupt, as they hide the answer (ratified by honest attorneys).

Please visit WIPO.org.uk to see it. Not associated with United Nations WIPO.org !
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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
    http://www.icannwatch.org/

    The URL for this story is:
    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=02/05/14/061254