Mr. Nissan apparently died as a result of complications from COVID-19, making his death even more senseless. He was an entrepreneur, originally from Israel, who owned a string of businesses in the United States, each bearing his name, Nissan (going back to when the car company was still called Datsun here in the states).
Back in 1994, Mr. Nissan obtained the domain registration for Nissan.com. At the time, he used it to promote his new computer and Internet services business. A couple of years later, he also secured the domain Nissan.net to extend his Internet service business.
Not surprisingly, Nissan, the carmaker, was none too happy about this and sued Nissan, the computer business owner.
If you want to read all the details, it’s documented quite well on Mr. Nissan’s other site, Digest.com. The basics are this: Back in 1999 Nissan, the car company, sued Uzi Nissan for $10,000,000 for damages associated with his use of the Nissan name. Since then, he has fought a string of legal battles against the car company.
For the most part, the courts have sided with Uzi Nissan over the years. He was, and has been, just using his family name to promote his business. The fact that he picked up the Nissan.com domain first is just too bad for the car company.
That’s why, to this day, if you want to know more about new Nissan cars, you go to NissanUSA.com.
However, in future articles, we’ll visit some of the other URLs the car company toyed with over the years, all because they couldn’t have Nissan.com.
What’s my take on this? Like many people, I absolutely respect Uzi Nissan for standing up to a company that was bullying him (and by all accounts, it sounds like “bullying” is the right word here). It’s not easy for a major corporation to have a good, consistent web strategy, and the Nissan car company obviously dropped the ball by not securing the domain early enough.
That said, I roll my eyes a bit when I visit Nissan.com these days.
I agree with Uzi Nissan that the car company is out of luck on this one. But his site’s primary focus is not about his computer company. It’s so overrun with anti-Nissan (the car company) messages that the few spots where you can learn about his computer services are buried and seem like an afterthought. If you want to say you own the site for your business, your business should be the primary focus, not your legal battles
And it looks like the site has been this way for many years. From what I can tell, Nissan.com has always been more about being anti-car-company than pro-computer-company (to my eye, at least, and I remember hearing about this story many years ago and checking the site back then).
Regardless, it’s sad to hear of Uzi Nissan’s passing. No doubt there are a lot of small business owners who owe him a debt of gratitude for taking on a Goliath, and winning.