Everybody loves an underdog. Whether it’s David (of Bible fame) sling-shotting Goliath in 600BC, a Jamaican bobsled team in 1994AD, or the Karate Kid himself, we love to see the little guy stick up for themselves and come out on top.
Giants these days, don’t get too much bigger than Nissan. They sit at #81, on the Forbes’ Most Valuable Brands list, have over 140,000 employees on the payroll and boast a market cap in excess of $31 billion. Not bad going.
So if you happened to be on the hunt for a new set of wheels and typed in Nissan.com, not only would you be disappointed in the lack of Qashqais and Jukes, you’d probably wonder why your browser had been redirected… to the year 1997.
That’s because Nissan.com is still owned by Uzi Nissan; small-business owner and computer salesman with infamous balls of steel… and absolutely no connection to the car manufacturer. Rather than the latest range of automobiles, the website is now a shrine to his lengthy legal battle against the global giant, in all its 90s web design glory.
In addition to the flashing banners and 3D effect hyperlinks, there are also two prominent ‘No Entry’ badges, wrapped in red around the Nissan logo. A not-so-subtle middle finger to the company who tried to sue Uzi for $10 million dollars in damages, claiming trademark infringement, trademark dilution and cyber squatting. Yikes.
Uzi, an Israeli immigrant to America, felt he had worked too hard in establishing his family named business to simply roll over and give in to their demands. So Uzi lawyered up.
Long story short, our 21st century David fought tooth and nail for over half a decade. Nissan used their seemingly endless resources to pursue every possible legal angle. They tried and failed to get the case taken to the Supreme Court, eventually dropping the claim for $10 million in damages fearing a jury would vote against the heavy-handed corporate giant. Finally they changed their request to something more simple: ownership of the Nissan.com URL. Sorry boys, swing and a miss.
Although there were several settlement offers suggested, each one was rejected by Uzi who felt that the legal and personal cost were not fairly covered. Uzi held his ground until the final decision was made in mid 2007, ruling in Uzi’s favour.
It took one hell of a toll on his personal life – would he do it again? Absolutely not. But in an age where money can seemingly get anybody out of a stick situation (Donald Trump, The Panama Papers, FIFA), it’s still a real mood booster to hear about an unlikely victory against our corporate overlords.
Check it out for yourself at Nissan.com.