Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. v. kyle fedorek
Claim Number: FA2103001937021
Complainant is Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. (“Complainant”), represented by ROBIC, LLP, Canada. Respondent is kyle fedorek (“Respondent”), New York, USA.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <hdpornhub.co>, (‘the Domain Name’) registered with NameCheap, Inc..
Dawn Osborne as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on March 17, 2021; the Forum received payment on March 17, 2021.
On March 18, 2021, NameCheap, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <hdpornhub.co> domain name is registered with NameCheap, Inc. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. NameCheap, Inc. has verified that Respondent is bound by the NameCheap, Inc. registration agreement and has thereby agreed to resolve domain disputes brought by third parties in accordance with ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”).
On March 23, 2021, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of April 12, 2021 by which Respondent could file a Response to the Complaint, via e-mail to all entities and persons listed on Respondent’s registration as technical, administrative, and billing contacts, and to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also on March 23, 2021, 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 Respondent’s 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 April 15, 2021 pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Dawn Osborne 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.
Complainant requests that the Domain Name be transferred from Respondent to Complainant.
The Complainant’s contentions can be summarized as follows:
The Complainant is the owner of the trade mark PORNHUB registered in a number of countries and used since 2007.
The Domain Name registered in 2019 is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s trade mark adding only the generic term ‘hd’ and the ccTLD “.co” neither of which prevents said confusing similarity.
The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name, is not commonly known by it and is not authorized by the Complainant.
The Domain Name has been pointed to a site not connected with the Complainant offering competing adult entertainment services and advertisements including unauthorized material from the Complainant’s pay per view sites. This is not a bona fide offering of goods or services or a noncommercial legitimate fair use. It is registration and use in bad faith disrupting the Complainant’s business and misleading and diverting Internet users for commercial gain.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
The Complainant is the owner of the trade mark PORNHUB registered in a number of countries and used since 2007.
The Domain Name registered in 2019 has been used for a site not connected with the Complainant but offering competing adult entertainment services including unauthorized content from the Complainant’s pay per view sites.
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) (“Because Complainant did not produce clear evidence to support its subjective allegations [. . .] the Panel finds it appropriate to dismiss the Complaint”).
The Domain Name consists of the Complainant's PORNHUB mark (which is registered in a number of countries for adult entertainment services with first use recorded as 2007), the generic term ‘hd’ and the ccTLD “.co”.
Previous panels have found confusing similarity when a respondent merely adds a generic term to a Complainant's mark. See PG&E Corp. v. Anderson, D2000-1264 (WIPO Nov. 22, 2000) (finding that respondent does not by adding common descriptive or generic terms create new or different marks nor does it alter the underlying mark held by the Complainant). The Panel agrees that the addition of the generic term ‘hd’ to the Complainant's mark does not prevent confusing similarity between the Domain Name and the Complainant's trade mark pursuant to the Policy.
The addition of a ccTLD like “.co” does not serve to distinguish a domain name from a complainant’s mark. See Microsoft Corporation v. Thong Tran Thanh, FA 1653187 (Forum Jan. 21, 2016) (determining that confusing similarity exists where [a disputed domain name] contains Complainant’s entire mark and differs only by the addition of a generic or descriptive phrase and top-level domain, the differences between the domain names and its contained trademark are insufficient to differentiate one from the other for the purposes of the Policy).
Accordingly, the Panel holds that the Domain Name is confusingly similar to the Complainant’s registered mark for the purposes of the Policy.
As such the Panel holds that Paragraph 4(a)(i) of the Policy has been satisfied.
Rights or Legitimate Interests
The Complainant has not authorized the use of its mark. There is no evidence or reason to suggest the Respondent is commonly known by the Domain Name. See Alaska Air Group, Inc. and its subsidiary, Alaska Airlines v. Song Bin, FA1408001574905 (Forum Sept. 17, 2014) (holding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name as demonstrated by the WHOIS information and based on the fact that the complainant had not licensed or authorized the respondent to use its ALASKA AIRLINES mark).
It is clear from the evidence that the Respondent has used the site attached to the Domain Name for competing adult entertainment services which are not connected with the Complainant. The usage of the Complainant’s PORNHUB mark which has a reputation for adult entertainment services in relation to similar services not connected with the Complainant is not fair as the site does not make it clear that there is no commercial connection with the Complainant. As such it cannot amount to the bona fide offering of services or a noncommercial legitimate or fair use. See Am. Intl Group Inc. v. Benjamin, FA 944242 (Forum May 11, 2007) (finding that the Respondent's use of a confusingly similar domain name to advertise real estate services which competed with the Complainant's business did not constitute a bona fide use of goods and services.).
The Respondent has not answered this Complaint and has not provided any legitimate reason why it should be able to use the Complainant’s trade mark in this way. As such the Panelist finds that the Respondent does not have rights or a legitimate interest in the Domain Name and that the Complainant has satisfied the second limb of the Policy.
Registration and Use in Bad Faith
In the opinion of the Panelist the use made of the Domain Name in relation to the Respondent’s site is confusing and disruptive in that visitors to the site might reasonably believe it is connected to or approved by the Complainant as it uses the Complainant’s mark to offer competing adult entertainment services and advertising.
Accordingly, the Panel holds that the Respondent has intentionally attempted to attract for commercial gain Internet users to his website by creating likelihood of confusion with the Complainant's trade mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation or endorsement of that web site or services on it likely to disrupt the business of the Complainant. See Asbury Auto Group Inc. v. Tex. Int'l Prop Assocs, FA 958542 (Forum May 29, 2007) (finding that the respondent's use of the disputed domain name to advertise car dealerships that competed with the complainant's business would likely lead to confusion amongst Internet users as to the sponsorship or affiliation of those competing dealerships and was therefore evidence of bad faith and use). See Allianz of AM. Corp. v. Bond, FA 680624 (Forum June 2, 2006) (finding bad faith registration and use where the respondent was diverting Internet users searching for the complainant to its own website).
A Respondent using a confusingly similar domain name to interfere with Complainant’s copyright rights may also demonstrate bad faith per Policy 4(b)(iii). See G.D. Searle & Co. v. Celebrex Cox-2 Vioxx.com, FA 124508 (Forum Oct. 16, 2002) (“Unauthorized use of Complainant’s CELEBREX mark to sell Complainant’s products represents bad faith use under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).”).
As such, the panelist believes that the Complainant has made out its case that the Domain Name was registered and used in bad faith and has satisfied the third limb of the Policy under paragraphs 4(b)(iii) and (iv).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <hdpornhub.co> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Dawn Osborne, Panelist
Dated: April 15, 2021
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