Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. v. Pavel Smirnov
Claim Number: FA2107001954386
Complainant is Licensing IP International S.à.r.l. (“Complainant”), represented by ROBIC, LLP, Canada. Respondent is Pavel Smirnov (“Respondent”), Russian Federation.
REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME
The domain name at issue is <sweetpornhub.com>, registered with Danesco Trading Ltd.
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.
Alan L. Limbury, as Panelist.
Complainant submitted a Complaint to the Forum electronically on July 9, 2021. The Forum received payment on July 9, 2021.
On July 10, 2021, Danesco Trading Ltd. confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <sweetpornhub.com> domain name is registered with Danesco Trading Ltd. and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name. Danesco Trading Ltd. has verified that Respondent is bound by the Danesco Trading Ltd. 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 13, 2021, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of August 2, 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 July 13, 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 August 4, 2021, pursuant to Complainant's request to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel, the Forum appointed Alan L. Limbury 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.a.r.l., operates in the online adult entertainment market. Complainant has rights in the PORNHUB mark both at common law and based upon registration with numerous trademark agencies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). Respondent’s <sweetpornhub.com> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainant’s PORNHUB mark.
Respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the <sweetpornhub.com> domain name because Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name; Complainant did not authorize Respondent to use the PORNHUB mark; and Respondent fails to use the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use. Instead, Respondent trades off Complainant’s goodwill by diverting Internet traffic to a competing webpage featuring advertisements.
Respondent registered the <sweetpornhub.com> domain name in bad faith with actual knowledge of Complainant’s rights in the PORNHUB mark. Respondent has displayed a pattern of bad faith as shown by registration of other infringing domain names. Respondent also disrupts Complainant’s business for its own commercial gain by using the domain name in bad faith to direct Internet traffic to a competing webpage for commercial gain.
Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.
Complainant has established all the elements entitling it to relief.
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 has shown that it has rights in the PORNHUB mark at common law and based upon registration with numerous trademark agencies, including the USPTO (e.g., Reg. No. 4,220,491, registered Sept. 10, 2012). The Panel finds Respondent’s <sweetpornhub.com> domain name to be confusingly similar to Complainant’s PORNHUB mark since it incorporates the entirety of the mark, simply adding the descriptive term “sweet”, which is insufficient to distinguish the domain name from the mark, and the inconsequential “.com” generic top-level domain (“gTLD”), which may be ignored.
Complainant has established this element.
Paragraph 4(c) of the Policy sets out three illustrative circumstances as examples which, if established by Respondent, shall demonstrate rights to or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name for the purposes of paragraph 4(a)(ii) of the Policy, i.e.
(i) before any notice to Respondent of the dispute, the use by Respondent of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the domain name or a name corresponding to the domain name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services; or
(ii) Respondent (as an individual, business or other organization) has been commonly known by the domain name, even if Respondent has acquired no trademark or service mark rights; or
(iii) Respondent is making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert customers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue.
The <sweetpornhub.com> domain name was registered on October 24, 2019, long after Complainant’s PORNHUB mark had become extremely well-known around the world. It resolves to a website which provides content and services of the same nature as those offered by Complainant via its <pornhub.com> website. Respondent’s website also includes advertisements from which it derives revenue.
These circumstances, coupled with Complainant’s assertions, are sufficient to constitute a prima facie showing of absence of rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name on the part of Respondent. The evidentiary burden therefore shifts to Respondent to show that it does have rights or legitimate interests in the domain name. See Neal & Massey Holdings Limited v. Gregory Ricks, FA 1549327 (Forum Apr. 12, 2014). Respondent has made no attempt to do so.
In the circumstances of this case, the Panel finds that Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.
Complainant has established this element.
Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy sets out four illustrative circumstances, which, though not exclusive, shall be evidence of the registration and use of the domain name in bad faith for purposes of paragraph 4(a)(iii) of the Policy, including:
(iii) the respondent has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
(iv) by using the domain name, the respondent has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the respondent’s website or location or of a product or service on its website or location.
The circumstances set out above in relation to the second element satisfy the Panel that Respondent was fully aware of Complainant’s well-known PORNHUB mark when Respondent registered the <sweetpornhub.com> domain name and that Respondent did so in bad faith in order to mislead Internet users into believing that they were accessing Complainant’s website. The Panel accepts Complainant’s submission that, by using the domain name as it does, Respondent deprives Complainant of advertising revenues through a website that usurps Complainant's mark. This demonstrates bad faith disruption of Complainant’s business under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iii).
Complainant has also shown that, in order to take unfair advantage of the goodwill attaching to the Complainant’s mark and the Internet traffic related to Complainant’s services, Respondent has used the <sweetpornhub.com> domain name intentionally in an attempt to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to its website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant’s PORNHUB mark as to the source of Respondent’s website. This demonstrates registration and use in bad faith to attract users for commercial gain under Policy ¶ 4(b)(iv).
Complainant has established this element.
Complainant having established all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel concludes that relief shall be GRANTED.
Accordingly, it is Ordered that the <sweetpornhub.com> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.
Alan L. Limbury, Panelist
Dated: August 6, 2021
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