Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. v. gaurav kumar
Claim Number: FA2105001945377
Complainant is Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. (“Complainant”), represented by ROBIC, LLP, Canada. Respondent is gaurav kumar (“Respondent”), India.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <pornhubxxxhd.com> (“Domain Name”), registered with NameCheap, Inc.
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.
Nicholas J.T. Smith as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on May 17, 2021; the Forum received payment on May 17, 2021.
On May 18, 2021, NameCheap, Inc. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <pornhubxxxhd.com> 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 May 26, 2021, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of June 15, 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 email@example.com. Also on May 26, 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 June 17, 2021, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Nicholas J.T. Smith 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.
Complainant, Licensing IP International S.à.r.l., operates in the online adult entertainment market. Complainant asserts rights in the PORNHUB mark through its registration with multiple trademark agencies worldwide including with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g. Reg. No. 4,220,491, registered Oct. 9, 2012). The disputed domain name, <pornhubxxxhd.com>, is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s mark because it wholly incorporates Complainant’s PORNHUB mark while adding the terms “xxx” and “hd” and the “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) to form the Domain Name.
Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <pornhubxxxhd.com> domain name because Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name. Respondent is not using the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services nor for a legitimate noncommercial or fair use because Respondent uses the to trade off the goodwill associated with Complainant’s mark for commercial gain through offering competing adult video content.
Respondent registered and uses the <pornhubxxxhd.com> domain name in bad faith. Respondent engages in a pattern of bad faith registration of other well-known marks. Additionally, Respondent disrupts Complainant’s business and attracts users for commercial gain by offering competing content and services.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant holds trademark rights for the PORNHUB mark. The Domain Name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s PORNHUB mark. Complainant has established that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name and that Respondent registered and has used the Domain Name in bad faith.
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”).
Complainant asserts rights in the PORNHUB mark through its registration of the mark with the USPTO. Registration with the USPTO can sufficiently establish rights in a mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Thermo Electron Corp. v. Xu, FA 713851 (Forum July 12, 2006) (finding that the complainants had established rights in marks where the marks were registered with a national trademark authority).
The Panel finds that the <pornhubxxxhd.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s PORNHUB mark because it wholly incorporates Complainant’s PORNHUB mark while adding the descriptive terms “hd” (which is an abbreviation of “high definition”) and “xxx” (which refers to an adult film rating) and the “.com” gTLD to form the Domain Name. These changes are insufficient to distinguish the Domain Name from the PORNHUB mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Thomson Reuters Global Resources v. Richard Marsh / intach / Steven Szybillo / intach / Michael Wilczynski / intach / Gary Clarke / intach / James Saunders / intach / Paul Randolph/ intach / John Geisler / intach, FA 1516146 (Forum Oct. 2, 2013) (finding that the disputed domain names fully incorporate Complainant’s THOMSON REUTERS mark while merely adding the term “scie,” “ahci,” “sci,” or “ssci.”); see also Trip Network Inc. v. Alviera, FA 914943 (Forum Mar. 27, 2007) (concluding that the affixation of a gTLD to a domain name is irrelevant to a Policy ¶ 4(a)(i) analysis).
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(i).
Complainant alleges that Respondent holds no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name. In order for Complainant to succeed under this element, it must first make a prima facie case that Respondent lacks rights and legitimate interests in the Domain Name under Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii), and then the burden shifts to Respondent to show it does have rights or legitimate interests. See Hanna-Barbera Prods., Inc. v. Entm’t Commentaries, FA 741828 (Forum Aug. 18, 2006) and AOL LLC v. Gerberg, FA 780200 (Forum Sept. 25, 2006) (“Complainant must first make a prima facie showing that Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interest in the subject domain names, which burden is light. If Complainant satisfies its burden, then the burden shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the subject domain names.”). The Panel holds that Complainant has made out a prima facie case.
Complainant asserts that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the Domain Name as Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name, nor has Complainant authorized Respondent to use the PORNHUB mark. Respondent has no relationship, affiliation, connection, endorsement or association with Complainant. WHOIS information can help support a finding that a respondent is not commonly known by the disputed domain name, especially where a privacy service has been engaged. See State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Dale Anderson, FA1504001613011 (Forum May 21, 2015) (concluding that because the WHOIS record lists “Dale Anderson” as the registrant of the disputed domain name, the respondent was not commonly known by the <statefarmforum.com> domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii)); see also Kohler Co. v. Privacy Service, FA1505001621573 (Forum July 2, 2015) (holding that the respondent was not commonly known by the disputed domain name pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii) where “Privacy Service” was listed as the registrant of the disputed domain name). The WHOIS lists “gaurav kumar” as registrant of record. Coupled with Complainant’s unrebutted assertions as to absence of any affiliation or authorization between the parties, the Panel finds that Respondent is not commonly known by the Domain Name in accordance with Policy ¶ 4(c)(ii).
The Domain Name is used to redirect to a website where Respondent offers adult videos in direct competition with Complainant under the heading “PORNXXXXHD”. The use of a domain name to redirect to a competing website does not amount to a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the name under Policy ¶¶ 4(c)(i) or (iii). See General Motors LLC v. MIKE LEE, FA 1659965 (Forum Mar. 10, 2016) (finding that “use of a domain to sell products and/or services that compete directly with a complainant’s business does not constitute a bona fide offering of goods or services pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(c)(iii).”).
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
The Panel finds that, at the time Respondent registered the Domain Name, November 19, 2019, Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s PORNHUB mark, which had been in use for over 11 years at the time. The Respondent is offering services from the Domain Name that are in direct competition to the Complainant’s well-known services from a Domain Name that wholly incorporates the PORNHUB mark. In the absence of rights or legitimate interests of its own this demonstrates registration in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
The Panel finds that Respondent registered and uses the Domain Name in bad faith as Respondent uses the Domain Name to redirect Internet users to Respondent’s own website where Respondent offers adult entertainment videos in direct competition with Complainant. Using a confusingly similar domain name to divert Internet users to a respondent’s competing website can show bad faith registration and use per Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii). See ZIH Corp. v. ou yang lin q, FA1761403 (Forum Dec. 29, 2017) (finding bad faith where the respondent used the infringing domain name to disrupt the complainant’s business by diverting Internet users from the complainant’s website to the respondent’s website where it offered competing printer products). Accordingly, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and uses the Domain Name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(iii).
Having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <pornhubxxxhd.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Nicholas J.T. Smith, Panelist
Dated: June 21, 2021
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