Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. v. Domain Admin / Domain Privacy Ltd
Claim Number: FA2107001953886
Complainant is Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. (“Complainant”), represented by ROBIC, LLP, Canada. Respondent is Domain Admin / Domain Privacy Ltd (“Respondent”), Massachusetts, USA.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <pornhub-tube.com> (“Domain Name”), registered with DropCatch.com 1151 LLC.
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 July 6, 2021; the Forum received payment on July 6, 2021.
On July 6, 2021, DropCatch.com 1151 LLC confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <pornhub-tube.com> domain name is registered with DropCatch.com 1151 LLC and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. DropCatch.com 1151 LLC has verified that Respondent is bound by the DropCatch.com 1151 LLC 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 July 6, 2021, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of July 26, 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 July 6, 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 July 29, 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 user-generated adult video portals that aggregate content from a variety of sources allowing users to watch, like, share, comment, and upload their own videos. Complainant’s rights in the PORNHUB mark arise through its registration of the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) (e.g. Reg. No. 4,220,491, registered Oct. 9, 2012). The domain name, <pornhub-tube.com>, is identical or confusingly similar to Complainant’s PORNHUB mark because it wholly incorporates Complainant’s PORNHUB mark adding in a hyphen, the term “tube,” and the “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) to form the domain name.
Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <pornhub-tube.com> domain name because Respondent is not commonly known by the <pornhub-tube.com> domain name nor has Respondent been authorized to use Complainant’s PORNHUB mark. Additionally, 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 as Respondent uses the Domain Name to operate a pay-per-click website to advertise competing services.
Respondent registered and uses the <pornhub-tube.com> domain name in bad faith because Respondent uses the Domain Name to disrupt Complainant’s business and attract users for commercial gain through Respondent’s operation of a pay-per-click website advertising adult services. Furthermore, Respondent acted with actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the PORNHUB mark given the mark’s notoriety.
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 <pornhub-tube.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s PORNHUB mark as it wholly incorporates the PORNHUB mark, adding the descriptive term (and hyphen) “-tube” and the “.com” gTLD. These changes are insufficient to distinguish the Domain Name from the PORNHUB mark under Policy ¶ 4(a)(i). See Bloomberg Finance L.P. v. Nexperian Holding Limited, FA 1782013 (Forum June 4, 2018) (“Where a relevant trademark is recognizable within a disputed domain name, the addition of other terms (whether descriptive, geographical, pejorative, meaningless, or otherwise) does not prevent a finding of confusing similarity under the first element.”); see also ADP, LLC. v. Ella Magal, FA 1773958 (Forum Aug. 2, 2017) (“Respondent’s <workforce-now.com> domain name appropriates the dominant portion of Complainant’s ADP WORKFORCE NOW mark and adds a hyphen and the gTLD “.com.” These changes do not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from the ADP WORKFORCE NOW mark.”); see also Gardline Surveys Ltd. v. Domain Fin. Ltd., FA 153545 (Forum May 27, 2003) (“The addition of a top-level domain is irrelevant when establishing whether or not a mark is identical or confusingly similar, because top-level domains are a required element of every domain name”).
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 “Domain Admin / Domain Privacy Ltd” 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 presently resolves to a parking page featuring pay-per-click advertisements, including advertisements for adult services that at least relate to the Complainant’s adult video services. This is not a bona fide offering or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. See Danbyg Ejendomme A/S v. lb Hansen / guerciotti, FA1504001613867 (Forum June 2, 2015) (finding that the respondent had failed to provide a bona fide offering of goods or services, or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name where the disputed domain name resolved to a website that offered both competing hyperlinks and hyperlinks unrelated to the complainant’s business); see also Insomniac Holdings, LLC v. Mark Daniels, FA 1735969 (Forum July 15, 2017) (”Respondent’s use of <edcorlando.xyz> also does not qualify as a bona fide offering… the <edcorlando.xyz> domain name resolves to a site containing pay-per-click hyperlinks and advertisements… Since these kinds of advertisements generate revenue for the holder of a domain name, they cannot be noncommercial; further, they do not qualify as a bona fide offering.”).
The Panel finds Complainant has satisfied Policy ¶ 4(a)(ii).
The Panel finds that, at the time Respondent registered the Domain Name (October 29, 2020), Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainant’s PORNHUB mark, which had been in use for over 10 years at the time. It would be unlikely for a party to acquire a domain name that wholly incorporates the well-known PORNHUB mark (over 10 years after the Complainant commenced use of the PORNHUB mark) and redirect it to a pay-per-click website with links offering adult services absent any awareness of Complainant and its PORNHUB mark (and intention to capitalize on Complainant’s reputation in its 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 to create confusion with Complainant’s PORNHUB Mark for commercial gain by using the Domain Name to resolve to a website containing advertisements and links to third party websites for commercial gain. Use of an identical or confusingly similar domain name to redirect Internet users to a website containing advertisements and links to third party websites for commercial gain is indicative of bad faith registration and use per Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv). See 3M Company v. Nguyen Hoang Son / Bussiness and Marketing, FA1408001575815 (Forum Sept. 18, 2014) (finding that the respondent’s use of the disputed domain name to host sponsored advertisements for Amazon, through which the respondent presumably profited, indicated that the respondent had used the disputed domain name in bad faith pursuant to Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv)); see also Staples, Inc. and Staples the Office Superstores, LLC v. HANNA EL HIN / DTAPLES.COM, FA1404001557007 (Forum June 6, 2014) (“Therefore, the Panel finds that Respondent registered and is using the <dtaples.com> domain name in bad faith under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv) because the Respondent is using the disputed domain name to host third-party links to Complainant’s competitors from which Respondent is presumed to obtain some commercial benefit.”).
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 <pornhub-tube.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Nicholas J.T. Smith, Panelist
Dated: July 30, 2021
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