Nissan unveiled its new Leaf electric car this evening, but apparently the UK twitter account for the automaker was unaware that the Nissan.com domain is owned by a man who has grown to hate the company, resulting in a rather hilarious mishap.
Here is a link to the tweet, which is still up as of the time of this article going live.
If you were to click on the hyperlinked nissan.com/nissan, you would very quickly realize that it is not a website owned by the automaker. Instead, the website flashes a giant crossed-out Nissan logo before opening up to a website describing a lawsuit between Nissan Motors and Nissan Computer.
So what the hell is going on? Good question, and it’s a long story.
Basically, Uzi Nissan, an Israeli immigrant based out of North Carolina, founded a new website for his software and computer company back in 1994 based on his last name. Mr. Nissan founded his company in 1991, which was years before Nissan thought to make a website. Mr. Nissan also argued that he had been using his name for work before Datsun became Nissan anyway, but that didn’t matter to the automaker in 1994, who wanted the domain name.
The issue eventually went to court, where Nissan Motors was seeking $10,000,000 in damages from Uzi Nissan. The automaker tried to hit Uzi Nissan with a handful of accusations like domain squatting and the sort, and were particularly bothered that Mr. Nissan was getting paid advertising revenue off of the thousands of clicks brought to him by the Nissan name. Here’s an excerpt from a 2003 article from Wired:
The Nissan v. Nissan lawsuit – picture the acrimonious custody battle of Kramer vs. Kramer, but without the cute kid – is now in the “discovery” phase, awaiting this month’s decision on an appeal over a preliminary injunction issued and affirmed last March by the U.S. Ninth District Court.
The injunction stated that, for the time being, Uzi Nissan could keep nissan.com running, but he’d have to display a prominent disclaimer that his site has nothing to do with the car manufacturer and his banner advertising could not include any automotive-related businesses.
At the top of Uzi Nissan’s site are the words, “Not affiliated with Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. For Nissan vehicles see ‘NissanDriven.com.’”
But that wasn’t it, as the case stretched all the way to 2007 before being finally settled. Uzi Nissan got to keep the domain name and, well, now you can see how he uses it. It’s also not something Nissan would want to tweet out to thousands of Twitter users on the night of a major car reveal, but here we are. Laughing. It’s hilarious.
You can follow a very passionate and descriptive outline of the court case here.