Back in the mid-1990's, there were a lot of prime Internet domain names that were available. Eventually laws were put in place regarding "cybersquatting" - buying domain names that contained someone else's trademarked name with the purpose of reselling.
For example, if I had purchased mcdonalds.com before they did, and I had no legitimate use for it, I couldn't simply "hold it hostage" from a company that needed it.
However, there are many companies that happen to have the same name. Let's say, instead of registering mcdonalds.com to hold it hostage, I bought it because my last name is McDonald and I had a computer repair shop, do I have the right to that domain name?
I'd say yes. However, this being America, you can sue anyone for anything, and they could sue me. Since they have many lawyers, I'd be more likely just to give up because I couldn't afford to fight.
Would this happen? Well, it did to nissan.com.
You may notice nissan.com is not the Web site for the car manufacturer. Instead, their Web site is nissanusa.com. The reason? A small computer corporation in North Carolina, run by a man named Uzi Nissan, bought the domain in the early 1990's.
Of course, once Nissan (the car people) figured out that this was the case, they wanted the domain name, and have been dragging Nissan (the computer person) through courts for ten years. Uzi Nissan's story claims that he's spent around 3 million dollars defending his Web site addresses.
Personally, my opinion is that Nissan (the car people) should be out of luck, but of course, they have millions to spend on lawyers, so they may eventually beat Uzi Nissan in to submission, and that's a shame.
Here's his story: