DECISION

 

Licensing IP International S.ŗ.r.l. v. Nanci Nette / Name Management Group

Claim Number: FA2008001908736

 

PARTIES

Complainant is Licensing IP International S.ŗ.r.l. (ďComplainantĒ), represented by ROBIC, LLP, Canada.† Respondent is Nanci Nette / Name Management Group (ďRespondentĒ), California, USA.

 

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The domain name at issue is <pornhub2.xyz>, registered with Dynadot, LLC.

 

PANEL

The undersigned certifies that he has acted independently and impartially and to the best of his knowledge has no known conflict in serving as Panelist in this proceeding.

 

Paul M. DeCicco, as Panelist.

 

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on August 17, 2020; the Forum received payment on August 17, 2020.

 

On August 18, 2020, Dynadot, LLC confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name is registered with Dynadot, LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name.† Dynadot, LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the Dynadot, LLC registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANNís Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the ďPolicyĒ).

 

On August 25, 2020, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of September 14, 2020 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondentís registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to postmaster@pornhub2.xyz.† Also on August 25, 2020, the Written Notice of the Complaint, notifying Respondent of the e-mail addresses served and the deadline for a Response, was transmitted to Respondent via post and fax, to all entities and persons listed on Respondentís registration as technical, administrative and billing contacts.

 

Having received no response from Respondent, the Forum transmitted to the parties a Notification of Respondent Default.

 

On September 19, 2020 pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Paul M. DeCicco as Panelist.

 

Having reviewed the communications records, the Administrative Panel (the "Panel") finds that the Forum has discharged its responsibility under Paragraph 2(a) of the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the "Rules") "to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent" through submission of Electronic and Written Notices, as defined in Rule 1 and Rule 2. Therefore, the Panel may issue its decision based on the documents submitted and in accordance with the ICANN Policy, ICANN Rules, the Forum's Supplemental Rules and any rules and principles of law that the Panel deems applicable, without the benefit of any response from Respondent.

 

RELIEF SOUGHT

Complainant requests that the domain name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.

 

PARTIES' CONTENTIONS

A. Complainant

Complainant contends as follows:

 

Complainant operates numerous websites featuring adult-oriented content.

 

Complainant has rights in the PORNHUB mark through its registration of the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (ďUSPTOĒ).

 

Respondentís <pornhub2.xyz> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainantís mark as Respondent merely adds the number 2 and the ď.xyzĒ generic top-level domain (ďgTLDĒ).

 

Respondents has no rights or legitimate interests in the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name as Respondent is not commonly known by the at-issue domain name nor has Respondent been licensed, authorized, or otherwise permitted by Complainant to use Complainantís mark. Furthermore, Respondentís use is not a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, as Respondent is merely diverting Internet users seeking Complainant to an unaffiliated and competing website offering pay-per-click links.

 

Respondent registered and used the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name in bad faith. Specifically, Respondent is attempting to disrupt Complainantís business by diverting Internet users to a website that may present a false impression of affiliation with Complainant. Furthermore, Respondent is attempting to attract internet users for commercial gain by diverting Internet users to competing websites. Finally, Respondent had knowledge of Complainantís rights in the PORNHUB mark at the time of the domain nameís registration.

 

B. Respondent

Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.

 

FINDINGS

Complainant has trademark rights in PORNHUB.

 

Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant and is not authorized to use the PORNHUB mark in any capacity.

 

Respondent registered the at‑issue domain name after Complainant acquired trademark rights in PORNHUB.

 

Respondent uses the at-issue domain name to direct internet users seeking Complainant to unaffiliated and competing third parties via pay-per-click links.

 

DISCUSSION

Paragraph 15(a) of the Rules instructs this Panel to "decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted in accordance with the Policy, these Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable."

 

Paragraph 4(a) of the Policy requires that Complainant must prove each of the following three elements to obtain an order that a domain name should be cancelled or transferred:

 

(1)  the domain name registered by Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which Complainant has rights; and

(2)  Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(3)  the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

 

In view of Respondent's failure to submit a response, the Panel shall decide this administrative proceeding on the basis of Complainant's undisputed representations pursuant to paragraphs 5(f), 14(a) and 15(a) of the Rules and draw such inferences it considers appropriate pursuant to paragraph 14(b) of the Rules.  The Panel is entitled to accept all reasonable allegations set forth in a complaint; however, the Panel may deny relief where a complaint contains mere conclusory or unsubstantiated arguments. See WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0 at ∂ 4.3; see also eGalaxy Multimedia Inc. v. ON HOLD By Owner Ready To Expire, FA 157287 (Forum June 26, 2003) (ďBecause Complainant did not produce clear evidence to support its subjective allegations [. . .] the Panel finds it appropriate to dismiss the ComplaintĒ).

 

Identical and/or Confusingly Similar

The at-issue domain name is confusingly similar to a trademark in which Complainant has rights.

 

Complainantís registration of its PORNHUB trademark with the USPTO demonstrates Complainantís rights in a mark under Policy ∂ 4(a)(i). See Haas Automation, Inc. v. Jim Fraser, FA 1627211 (Forum Aug. 4, 2015) (finding that Complainantís USPTO registrations for the HAAS mark sufficiently demonstrate its rights in the mark under Policy ∂ 4(a)(i)).

 

Respondentís <pornhub2.xyz> domain name incorporates Complainantís PORNHUB trademark with the number ď2Ē added and with all followed by the generic top-level domain name ď.xyz.Ē The slight differences between Complainantís trademark and Respondentís domain name do not distinguish the at-issue domain name from Complainantís trademark pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(a)(i). Therefore, the Panel concludes that Respondentís <pornhub2.xyz> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainantís PORNHUB trademark. See Pandora Media, Inc. v. MASATAMI KITA, FA 1622614 (Forum July 20, 2015) (holding the <pandora1.com> domain name confusingly similar to the PANDORA trademark because the only difference between the two was the addition of the numeral ď1Ē); see also AbbVie Inc. v. Konayem Temirtassova, FA 1604178 (Forum Mar. 12, 2015) (ďComplainant is correct that Respondent cannot escape responsibility for using a well-known and registered trademark of another by simply adding the gTLD .xyz . . .Ē).

 

Rights or Legitimate Interests

Under Policy ∂ 4(a)(ii), Complainant must first make out a prima facie case showing that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in respect of an at-issue domain name and then the burden, in effect, shifts to Respondent to come forward with evidence of its rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entmít Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006). Since Respondent failed to respond, Complainantís prima facie showing acts conclusively.

 

Respondent lacks both rights and legitimate interests in respect of the at-issue domain name. Respondent is not authorized to use Complainantís trademark in any capacity and, as discussed below, there are no Policy ∂ 4(c) circumstances from which the Panel might find that Respondent has rights or interests in respect of <pornhub2.xyz>.

 

The WHOIS information for the at-issue domain name ultimately identifies the domain nameís registrant as ďNanci Nette / Name Management GroupĒ and the record before the Panel contains no evidence tending to prove that Respondent is commonly known by the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name. The Panel therefore concludes that Respondent is not commonly known by the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name for the purposes of Policy ∂ 4(c)(ii). See Braun Corp. v. Loney, FA 699652 (Forum July 7, 2006) (concluding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain names where the WHOIS information, as well as all other information in the record, gave no indication that the respondent was commonly known by the domain names, and the complainant had not authorized the respondent to register a domain name containing its registered mark).

 

Additionally, Respondent uses the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name to direct internet users seeking Complainant to pay-per-click links referencing third parties that compete with Complainant. †Respondentís use of the domain name in this manner indicates neither a bona fide offering of goods or services under Policy ∂ 4 (c)(i), nor a non-commercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(c)(iii). See Vance Intíl, Inc. v. Abend, FA 970871 (Forum June 8, 2007) (concluding that the operation of a pay-per-click website at a confusingly similar domain name does not represent a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use, regardless of whether or not the links resolve to competing or unrelated websites or if the respondent is itself commercially profiting from the click-through fees).

 

Given the forgoing, Complainant satisfies its initial burden and conclusively demonstrates Respondentís lack of rights and lack of interests in respect of the at-issue domain name under Policy ∂ 4(a)(ii).

 

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

Respondentís <pornhub2.xyz> domain name was registered and used in bad faith. As discussed below, bad faith circumstances are present which compel the Panel to conclude that Respondent acted in bad faith pursuant to paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy.

 

First and as mentioned above regarding rights and legitimate interests, Respondentís confusingly similar domain is used to address a webpage offering links to services in competition with those offered by Complainant.† Respondentís use of the confusingly similar domain name to create the false impression of affiliation with Complainant is disruptive to Complainantís business and shows Respondentís bad faith registration and use of the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name per Policy ∂∂ 4(b)(iii) and (iv). See Am. Online, Inc. v. Tapia, FA 328159 (Forum Dec. 1, 2004) (ďRespondent is referring Internet traffic that seeks out the <aol.tv> domain name to a competitorís news site.† The Panel strongly finds that appropriating Complainantís mark to refer customers seeking Complainant to Complainantís competitors is evidence of bad faith registration and use pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(b)(iii).Ē); see also, OneWest Bank N.A. v. Matthew Foglia, FA1503001611449 (Forum Apr. 26, 2015) (holding that the respondentís use of the disputed domain name to direct internet users to a website which competed with the complainant was evidence of bad faith pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(b)(iv)).

 

Finally, Respondent registered <pornhub2.xyz> knowing that Complainant had trademark rights in the PORNHUB mark. Respondentís prior knowledge is evident from the notoriety of Complainantís trademark as well as from Respondentís use of <pornhub2.xyz> as discussed above. †It is thus clear that Respondent intentionally registered the at-issue domain name to improperly exploit its trademark value, rather than for some benign reason. Respondentís prior knowledge of Complainant's trademark further indicates that Respondent registered and used the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(a)(iii). See Minicards Vennootschap Onder FIrma Amsterdam v. Moscow Studios, FA 1031703 (Forum Sept. 5, 2007) (holding that respondent registered a domain name in bad faith under Policy ∂ 4(a)(iii) after concluding that respondent had "actual knowledge of Complainant's mark when registering the disputed domain name").

 

DECISION

Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.

 

Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <pornhub2.xyz> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.

 

 

Paul M. DeCicco, Panelist

Dated:† September 21, 2020

 

 

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