1. The U.S. Court system is finding that the law needs to catch up with technology. Such is the case for Nissan Motors. When the Internet gained popularity, domain names were registered without concern as to ownership of the actual names. Individuals who looked up companies by domain names would find a different company than the one they were expecting. Nissan Motors was concerned about the use of the Nissan name by Nissan Computers because 1) their customers would be going to the website to find automobile information, which would give Nissan Computers an unfair advantage; 2) as a longer-established, more well-known company, Nissan Motors felt entitled to use the name over a smaller, lesser-known company.
Nissan Motors should have registered the name as soon as it became possible to do so. The fact that Nissan Motors is a large company and Nissan Computers is a small company does not give Nissan Motors the right to the name. Nissan Motors is not entitled to a monetary reward of any amount.
Nissan Computers had every right to use the Nissan name, as it is the owner’s given name. The $10 million in damages is completely without basis: Nissan Computers is using the name in good faith and for a specific purpose. On the other hand, Nissan Computers has the grounds to sue Nissan Motors for defamation. Nissan Motors sued under the Anti Cybersquatter Act, but Nissan Computers does not meet the criteria for a cybersquatter. In order to meet the criteria, they must be using the name for the purpose of extracting payment. On the contrary, Nissan Computer will not sell the domain name at any price. They should counter sue for $10 million.
2. Uzi Nissan’s ethical position is this: 1) they are entitled to use the name on the basis that Nissan is the owner’s family name; 2) Nissan Motors, like many other well-known companies, should have registered the name when it became available; 3) the two companies will not be mistaken for each other. Uzi Nissan is entitled to use the domain name because it is the owner’s given name. His goal in using the name is not to misdirect Nissan Motors customers to his site, but to direct potential Nissan Computer customers to his site. If this were a trademark issue and Uzi Nissan registered the name first (while Nissan Motors was still using Datsun), they would be entitled to use it without question. Domain names on the Internet should follow the same rule. Finally, Nissan Motors and Nissan Computers will not be mistaken for each other. When a visitor arrives at Nissan.com or Nissan.net, the words “Nissan Computer Corp” appears in bold at the top of the page. A Nissan Motors customer would instantly close the page and look for the website using a search engine. Ethically, Uzi Nissan has done nothing wrong and has followed all of the correct procedures in establishing the domain name.
3. Nissan Motors’ ethical position is 1) they are a long-standing, well-established international company with a large customer base; 2) there was no precedent for registering the domain name first; 3) there is potential customer confusion in Uzi Nissan’s use of the name; 4) the $10 million in damages covers the potential losses accrued by Uzi Nissan’s use of the name.
Nissan Motors used the name Datsun until the late 1980’s. They made a seamless transition to the new name and continued to have a large customer base. When domain names became available in the mid-1990’s, Nissan Motors had no reason to believe that this would be such a prominent advertising medium. This position is supported by the fact that many other companies missed out on registering their domain names. Customers seeking to shop for a car online will automatically type in Nissan.com or Nissan.net, both of which are registered to Uzi Nissan. Potential customers might be discouraged by the difficulty in finding the Nissan Motors website. Finally, Nissan Motors is owed $10 million in damages because their customers are being directed to the wrong website and Nissan Motors has no recourse, as “.com” and “.net” are the only options for domain names (they don’t qualify as “.edu”, “.gov” or “.org”) and both are taken by Uzi Nissan.
4. The courts’ decisions were mixed on the basis of fairness. First, the decision that Nissan Computer had not acted in bad faith was correct – there is no evidence that they used the name in order to take it away from Nissan Motors, and the owner is running a legitimate business. The decision to disallow the use of the domain names for commercial purposes is unfair. Nissan Computer registered the name first, and is entitled to use it. Anyone who wishes to succeed in business must be forward-thinking and anticipate new means of advertising and bringing in business. The fact that Nissan Motors did not take advantage of domain names does not give them the right to the name. Finally, the court made the right decision in not transferring the domain name to Nissan Motors, though cutting Nissan Computers off from using it for business essentially takes the domain names away from them.
The courts should have established a precedent that legitimate businesses who can prove they are entitled to use a particular domain name may keep the name. Domain name owners who only seek to take the name from another company and direct web traffic inappropriately may not do so. The best solution for all involved is for Nissan Computers to sell one of the domain names (either the “.com” or the “.net”) to Nissan Motors. While they have no legal obligation to do so, morally and ethically it is the right solution to the problem. Currently, Nissan Motors is behaving like the stereotypical oppressive Big Business company, running over the little people without concern for their own rights in business.
1. The term “monopoly” has a negative connotation, often where it is not deserved. This has been the case with Microsoft. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs started the technology revolution with their own original ideas, which eventually took DOS to Windows. In creating this user-friendly home computer system from scratch, Microsoft necessarily left itself open to problems. Should Microsoft be required to compete? If the ideas were original, why should they have to share them with anyone? The personal computer went from a luxury to a necessity, and that is why Microsoft cannot operate as a monopoly. Microsoft requires both structural and conduct remedies to break up this monopoly and allow competitors into the market.
The first structural remedy would be to break up Microsoft into its separate divisions, computers, operating systems, mobile phones, etc. They should not be permitted to “bundle” one product with another, nor should they be permitted to market products from different divisions together. A conduct remedy would be to make their products compatible with other accessories and software. Operating systems should be easily compatible with non-Microsoft programs; video games should be adaptable to different game systems; mobile phones should be able to be used with any wireless service. Consumers and market forces cannot contain Microsoft’s behavior; this has been demonstrated in their brief history at the top of the computer software market. This is not to say that the monopoly hasn’t been deserved – if it hadn’t been for Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, there would be no easy-to-use home computer. However, market forces will help to maintain Microsoft’s monopoly as their products are easy to use and easily compatible with one another. The majority of Americans are adept but not experts at using computers; they require user-friendly programs. Regulation is necessary to reign in Microsoft’s dominance and to allow other companies to compete.
2. I would use many of the products listed in Table 9.18. First of all, handheld devices are becoming more and more mainstream, even for those who aren’t computer-literate. The benefit of this service is that an individual can take their computer with them, check e-mail when not at home, and keep files handy. The danger is that companies such as Microsoft can bundle this product so that it can only be used with Microsoft products. This offers a benefit for the user because it does not require that they learn new software or overcome compatibility problems. Next is the cell phone software. The benefit of having Microsoft in control of cell phone software is that they are most likely to make frequent, technologically-superior upgrades that will benefit the consumer. The downside is that other companies, such as Siemens, are licensing their software rather than creating their own. While this kind of monopoly would be unintentional, it would still be a monopoly. The name Microsoft comes with an implied warranty that the product will be superior and the technology up to date. Licensing Microsoft’s products might give a false warranty to the consumer. The Enterprise servers and Internet portals have enough competition that Microsoft does not have a monopoly and they are unlikely to have one in the future. Businesses benefit from having many companies from which to choose from for service. The streaming media is bundled with the software, and this provides both a benefit and a detriment to consumers. The benefit is that individuals who find something online that they would like to watch easily have a medium available to them to view it; they won’t need to buy or download anything. The detriment is that having the program bundled means that most consumers won’t bother to look at other streaming media programs. Microsoft should not be able to bundle the streaming media with their operating systems. They should, however, be able to offer it separately. Finally, the Microsoft Xbox is in direct competition with the Sony Playstation and holds equal market share. There is no reason to change this aspect of Microsoft’s business.
3. The first benefit of using all Microsoft products would be that they are innately compatible with one another because they are designed to be used in tandem. The first benefit to my customers would be its ease of use. Consumers are familiar with Microsoft products because they are the most prevalent on the market, so using my site would be simple for them and would allow them to concentrate on what I’m offering rather than navigating the site. As a value proposition, my products and services would be compatible with their needs; we can collaborate on projects as well as sending files that can be used with any program. The next benefit is that of Internet Security. If my business is part of a larger Microsoft-based e-commerce network, the user will not have to maintain a variety of usernames and passwords, nor will they need to be concerned that their personal information will find its way to another company. As mentioned earlier, the Microsoft name comes with certain inherent, unintended warranties. Consumers know that Microsoft products are expensive but well worth the price. This kind of warranty would give credence to my business and encourage users to use my website.
4. In order to build trust among e-commerce customers, one first has to be aware of the reasons for the lack of trust. When it comes to online business, the lack of a physical presence of the product in question and the physical distance between the buyer and the seller results in a situation where the buyer must trust that the seller will provide the product upon payment; the seller must trust that the buyer’s payment method will be reliable. The two transactions, the buying and the selling, take place instantaneously and require a great deal of trust. The development of this trust must evolve over time. The relationships will grow as transactions become more frequent and the buyers become more accustomed to the e-commerce environment. Until that relationship has been established, however, customers need to be able to build that trust.
Consumers tend to be wary of giving out information online because it would be easy for a company or an individual to steal that information or to use it in a way that was not intended. According to a 2002 study, only 47% of consumers trust their banks enough to protect their identities. For this reason, many individuals have a separate online identity with each company with which they do business. This can get confusing, but it lessens the risk of having their username or password stolen. One suggestion for rebuilding trust is for Microsoft to arrange to have a government-sponsored consortium where users can register their information and use the site to pay bills as well as paying for products purchased online.
5. Microsoft is in a position seldom held by any corporation. It has created a unique line of products based on their own hard work and intensive research. These products are unlike anything on the market and few companies are able to replicate their work. Therefore, Microsoft must be able to protect its assets and intellectual property while following the laws.
In both telecommunications and electricity, competition plays a new role today because the owner of a facility that is essential to the provision of a service and that cannot be economically duplicated must allow others to use it.
Because of the monopoly There are two workable options for monitoring companies like Microsoft: task forces or auditing.
The courts can establish a task force whose responsibility will be to monitor the activities of companies like Microsoft. They would need to watch the market closely, keeping track of relevant products, companies and prices. When they find behavior that suggests that Microsoft is once again acting in a monopolistic fashion, they can step in and require Microsoft to make further structural or conduct changes.
An auditing system could be done in such a way that a government employee is given the responsibility of monitoring Microsoft’s activities and comparing them with overall market trends. Regular reports would ensure that they would not be able to take control over the market again.
Janger, Edward J. “Muddy Property: Generating and Protecting Information Privacy Norms in Bankruptcy.” William and Mary Law Review 44, no. 4 (2003): 1801+.
Prosser, Tony. Law and the Regulators. Oxford: Oxford University, 1997.
Sherman, Roger. 2001. The Future of Market Regulation. Southern Economic Journal 67, no. 4: 783.
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