DECISION

 

Licensing IP International S.ŗ.r.l. v. Mark Drudge / Private Person

Claim Number: FA2204001991183

 

PARTIES

Complainant is Licensing IP International S.ŗ.r.l. (ďComplainantĒ), represented by ROBIC, LLP, Canada.† Respondent is Mark Drudge / Private Person (ďRespondentĒ), Netherlands.

 

REGISTRAR AND DISPUTED DOMAIN NAME

The domain name at issue is <porn-hub.org>, registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com.

 

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 April 5, 2022; the Forum received payment on April 5, 2022.

 

On April 6, 2022, PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com confirmed by e-mail to the Forum that the <porn-hub.org> domain name is registered with PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com and that Respondent is the current registrant of the name.† PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com has verified that Respondent is bound by the PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com 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 April 6, 2022, the Forum served the Complaint and all Annexes, including a Written Notice of the Complaint, setting a deadline of April 26, 2022 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@porn-hub.org.† Also on April 6, 2022, 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 May 1, 2022, 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, Licensing IP International S.ŗ.r.l., operates within the online adult entertainment market.

 

Complainant maintains registration in the PORNHUB mark with trademark authorities worldwide including with authorities in the European Union, Canada, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

 

The <porn-hub.org> domain name is identical or confusingly similar to Complainantís PORNHUB mark because it incorporates Complainantís PORNHUB mark while adding in a hyphen and the ď.orgĒ generic top-level domain (ďgTLDĒ) to form a domain name.

 

Respondent does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the <porn-hub.org> domain name because Respondent is not commonly known by the domain name nor has Respondent been authorized to use Complainantís PORNHUB mark. 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 domain name to redirect users away from Complainantís website and onto a website that provides competing content and services.

 

Respondent registered and uses the <porn-hub.org> domain name in bad faith. Respondent disrupts Complainantís business by redirecting users to a website that offers competing services and content. The website also displays advertisements. Respondentís domain name uses Complainantís mark to attract internet users for commercial gain. Respondent acted with actual or constructive knowledge of Complainantís rights in the PORNHUB mark.

 

B. Respondent

Respondent failed to submit a Response in this proceeding.

 

FINDINGS

Complainant has rights in the PORNHUB trademark.

 

Respondent is not affiliated with Complainant and had not been authorized to use Complainantís trademark in any capacity.

 

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

 

Respondentís at-issue domain name addresses a website that offers services and content that competes with that offered by Complainant under the PORNHUB trademark.

 

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.

 

Complainant has multiple national registrations for its PORNHUB trademark. A single national trademark registration is sufficient to demonstrate Complainantís rights in a mark under Policy ∂ 4(a)(i). See Bittrex, Inc. v. Domain Privacy Services, FA 1786849 (Forum June 15, 2018) (finding Complainant has trademark rights in the BITTREX mark through registration of the mark with the EUIPO and the USPTO.).

 

Respondentís <porn-hub.org> domain name contains Complainantís PORNHUB trademark with a hyphen inserted. The hyphenated string is followed by the ď.orgĒ top-level domain name. The differences between Respondentís domain name and Complainantís trademark are insufficient to distinguish the <porn-hub.org> domain name from the PORNHUB trademark for the purposes of Policy ∂ 4(a)(i). Therefore, the Panel concludes that Respondentís <porn-hub.org> domain name is confusingly similar to Complainantís trademark. See ADP, LLC. v. Ella Magal, FA 1773958 (Forum Aug, 2, 2017) (ďRespondentís <workforce-now.com> domain name appropriates the dominant portion of Complainantís ADP WORKFORCE NOW mark and adds a hyphen and the gTLD ď.com.Ē These changes do not sufficiently distinguish the disputed domain name from the ADP WORKFORCE NOW mark.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).

 

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 the at‑issue domain name. See Emerson Electric Co. v. golden humble / golden globals, FA 1787128 (Forum June 11, 2018) (ďlack of evidence in the record to indicate a respondent is authorized to use [the] complainantís mark may support a finding that [the] respondent does not have rights or legitimate interests in the disputed domain name per Policy ∂ 4(c)(ii)Ē).

 

The WHOIS information for <porn-hub.org> identifies the domain nameís registrant as ďMark DrudgeĒ and the record before the Panel contains no evidence showing that Respondent is commonly known by the <porn-hub.org> domain name. The Panel therefore concludes that Respondent is not commonly known by the <porn-hub.org> domain name for the purposes of Policy ∂ 4(c)(ii). See Amazon Technologies, Inc. v. LY Ta, FA 1789106 (Forum June 21, 2018) (concluding a respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in a disputed domain name where the complainant asserted it did not authorize the respondent to use the mark, and the relevant WHOIS information indicated the respondent is not commonly known by the domain name).

 

Respondent uses <porn-hub.org> in furtherance of diverting internet users to an unaffiliated website offering services and content that compete with that offered by Complainant. The website also displays numerous advertisements. Respondentís use the of the domain name in this manner is 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 Upwork Global Inc. v. Shoaib Malik, FA 1654759 (Forum Feb. 3, 2016) (finding that Complainant provides freelance talent services, and that Respondent competes with Complainant by promoting freelance talent services through the disputed domainís resolving webpage, which is neither a bona fide offering of goods or services, nor is it a legitimate noncommercial or fair use); see also, Gumwand Inc. v. jared brading, FA 1794058 (Forum Aug. 6, 2018) (finding that use of a confusingly similar domain name to resolve to a website which purported to sell chewing gum-removal equipment which was either counterfeit versions of Complainantís goods, or goods which competed directly with Complainantís chewing gum-removal equipment business, was not a bona fide offering of goods or services or a legitimate noncommercial or fair use within Policy ∂∂ 4(c)(i) or (iii)).

 

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

 

Registration and Use in Bad Faith

The at-issue domain name was registered and used in bad faith. As discussed below without limitation, bad faith circumstances are present from which the Panel concludes that Respondent acted in bad faith pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(a)(iii).

 

As mentioned above regarding rights or legitimate interests, Respondent uses <porn-hub.org> to address a website offering services and content in competition with Complainant as well as to feature various third-party advertisements. Using a confusingly similar domain name to compete with Complainant is disruptive to Complainantís business and falsely indicates that there is a sanctioned relationship between Complainant and Respondent when there is no such relationship. Respondentís use of the domain name thus demonstrates Respondentís bad faith under Policy ∂∂ 4(b)(iii) and (iv). See Twitter v. Domain Admin, FA 1607451 (Forum April 2, 2015) (ďRespondentís use of the domain name disrupted Complainantís business and misappropriated the trademark value of Complainantís mark to wrangle visitors to its website thereby demonstrating Respondentís bad faith registration and use of the name pursuant to Policy ∂ 4(b)(iii).Ē); see also, Walgreen Co. v. MUHAMMAD SALEEM / WALGREENSGENERAL TRADING LLC, FA 1790453 (Forum †July 1, 2018) (ďRespondentís registration and use of the confusingly similar <walgreensshop.com> domain name in furtherance of trading competitively on [c]omplainantís WALGREENS trademark demonstrates Respondentís bad faith pursuant to Policy ∂∂ 4(b)(iii) and (iv).Ē).

 

Moreover, Respondent had actual knowledge of Complainantís rights in the PORNHUB mark when it registered <porn-hub.org> as a domain name. Respondentís actual knowledge is evident given the notoriety of Complainantís PORNHUB trademark and given Respondentís use of <porn-hub.org> to offer content and services competing with Complainantís offering as discussed elsewhere herein. Respondentís registration and use of a confusingly similar domain name with knowledge of Complainantís trademark rights in PORNHUB and thus in <porn-hub.org> further indicates Respondentís 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); see also, Univision Comm'cns Inc. v. Norte, FA 1000079 (Forum Aug. 16, 2007) (rejecting the respondent's contention that it did not register the disputed domain name in bad faith since the panel found that the respondent had knowledge of the complainant's rights in the UNIVISION 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 <porn-hub.org> domain name be TRANSFERRED from Respondent to Complainant.

 

 

Paul M. DeCicco, Panelist

Dated:† May 2, 2022

 

 

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