Countersuit Asks to Cancel Teen Revenue's 'Little Lupe' Trademark

Oct 26, 2010 12:15 PM PST
LOS ANGELES — The legal battle between operators of the Teen Revenue affiliate program and Lupe Fuentes' company, Evan Seinfeld, Webquest and a number of online adult processors is heating up.

In a countersuit recently filed, Lupe Fuentes LLC claims it is the legal and rightful owner of the name "Little Lupe" despite the fact that Teen Revenue operators applied to register her name in July with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

Teen Revenue initially filed suit in August against Lupe Fuentes LLC and the others after allegations were levied over poached LittleLupe.com masters that were allegedly rebranded and distributed on Lupe Fuentes LLC-owned site ILoveLupe.com.

Now Fuentes' company, which disputes those claims, is fighting back, asking a judge to award it actual and punitive damages in its countersuit, as well as injunctive relief that would cancel Teen Revenue's "Little Lupe" trademark.

In its countersuit filed at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Lupe Fuentes LLC said that Teen Revenue's parent, Samson Investments, should forfeit the domain LittleLupe.com.

The counterclaim also charges that Teen Revenue has embarked on a "smear campaign" for the sole purpose of crippling its relations with online adult processors.

Lupe Fuentes claims she decided to use the English translation of her life-long nickname, "Little Lupe," as her stage name after being scouted by Teen Revenue's Paolo Cammarata. Fuentes said she had used the nickname years ago, since when she was a child in Spain.

"This name had special meaning to [Fuentes] because 'Peque Lupe,' meaning 'small Lupe' or 'little Lupe' in English, was a nickname created and often used by [her] family and friends when she was a given her small stature — standing at 4'9" and weighing 80 pounds even at adulthood."

Fuentes further said that the deal she had with Cammarata was limited, providing for 30 scenes, with a perpetual license to use the name "Little Lupe" exclusively for 18 months.

It would turn out that LittleLupe.com became, and has been for the last three years, one of the most popular and profitable websites marketed through the Teen Revenue program.

In January after the 18-month exclusivity period ended, Fuentes and Seinfeld formed Lupe Fuentes LLC, where she began producing content using the stage name "Lupe Fuentes."

Her content later was posted to ILoveLupe.com and LupeFuentes.com, with Lupe Fuentes LLC partnering up with Webquest to promote and distribute its content online and later signing up with processors National Net, Local Billing and NETbilling, which earlier this month was pared from Teen Revenue's initial suit.

"Lupe Fuentes LLC consciously chose to use the stage name 'Lupe Fuentes' rather than 'Little Lupe' to purposely disassociate itself from [Teen Revenue's] licensed use of the mark 'Little Lupe' given that their usage, whether intentional or not, marketed [her] in a way to appear as an underage performer (referring on their website to [Fuentes] as the TEEN you have been looking for)," the countersuit said.

As a result, Fuentes was able to "appeal not only to those seeking regular online adult content, but those with a particular preference for deviant sexual behavior."

Fuentes, according to the countersuit, was given access to the footage shot by Teen Revenue through an oral authorization set forth in its initial contract, but later Teen Revenue recanted the oral agreement.

Fuentes, the counterclaim said, immediately removed the content.

Seinfeld, in an interview with XBIZ, said that the first suit waged by Teen Revenue filed was "underhanded," but that now that the countersuit has been filed, "the floodgates are open."

"[Teen Revenue] has underestimated our legal resources," Seinfeld said.

"We're not surprised Paolo Cammarata would file a frivolous, desperate and far-reaching suit," he said. "He thinks that it is more clever to sue us. Well, I don't think he was counting on this [countersuit]."

Seinfeld said that upon meeting Fuentes, who was searching for a manager, he was surprised to learn that LittleLupe.com was one of the top 3,000 sites on Alexa. Seinfeld estimated that in some of the site's most prolific months, the Teen Revenue site generated in excess of $350,000 a month for Teen Revenue.

"But Paolo knew he needed fresh content to continue the momentum," said Seinfeld, who started representing Fuentes as a professional manager and later began dating her.

Seinfeld said that he and Cammarata had talks at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas over a Lupe Fuentes deal, but negotiations in the end proved fruitless.

"The deal he was offering was lopsided," Seinfeld said. "Everyone in this business is doing 50/50, or even 60/30, deals. But this guy offers me 20 percent, and I came to the table with some really good ideas."

Seinfeld, looking back at the failed negotiations, said that he's glad they didn't eventually go forward. "I'm put off by the site in the first place because [LittleLupe.com] portrays a child," Seinfeld said.

Seinfeld also said he's put off by the fact that Teen Revenue operators applied to register her name in July with the patent office.

"What's amazing is that their application was filed just prior to the [original suit] filed in August," he said. "It's just shitty."

David Beitchman, who represents Lupe Fuentes LLC and Seinfeld, told XBIZ that it's likely that he'll be able to get that trademark cancelled.

"If we can demonstrate prior use, we'll be able to get the court to cancel it," he said.

Teen Revenue attorney Jay Spillane did not respond to numerous requests for comment on the legal developments.

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