In Nissan Motor Company v. Nissan Computer Corp. No. 04-869 Petition for Cert. filed (U.S. Dec. 22, 2004) Nissan requested a review of a 9th Circuit ruling that allowed a computer business to continue using the domain name Nissan.com. An individual, Mr. Uzi Nissan had used his last name for business ventures including Nissan Computer Corp. Nissan, the automobile company, sued Mr. Nissan for trademark infringement and dilution based on the use of Nissan.com. The District Court found infringement only to the extent that the website included ads for automobile related products and prohibited Nissan Computer Corp. from linking to sites that contained negative comments about the Nissan automobile company. On appeal, the Court affirmed the trademark infringement claims but reversed Plaintiff’s claims of dilution. In its Petition for Certiorari., Nissan Motor Company argues that the 9th Circuit ruling was wrong in its holding that use of the domain name that was a famous mark was not subject to dilution because it was a non-commercial use, and that links were somehow protected by the First Amendment, and that no infringement took place when Nissan.com diverts consumers away from the automotive company and those looking for information on Nissan automobiles. The Supreme Court, however, refused to review the appellate court decision, and Mr. Nissan can continue to use.
This and the following posts have been copied or adopted from A Legal Guide To The INTERNET – Sixth Edition, published through a collaborative effort by the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development and Merchant & Gould.