Manwin Sues Georgia Man for Cybersquatting, Defamation
LOS ANGELES — Manwin has filed a cybersquatting and defamation suit against a Georgia man who is said to have created "massive, ongoing harassment campaign" against the adult entertainment giant, while making "exorbitant monetary demands" for a number of similar domains.
Manwin, in a suit filed Thursday, said that the individual named in the suit is Nicholas Bulgin of Georgia, who allegedly goes by a number of handles, including Gill Manwinder, Yi Weng, Chris Hill, Jim Jagen and "Radishdreams."
Bulgin, according to the suit, not only registered Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com in "bad faith" in an attempt to extort the company, he created a slew of fake names and personas purporting to own each of the "infringing" domains.
Manwin, for example, said that Bulgin registered the domain name Manwin.net using the name "Gill Manwinder," a purported businessman from the U.K. who was in the process of setting up various businesses using his family name "Manwinder."
Bulgin later is said to have used the "Gill Manwinder" name to interfere in a U.S. trademark application, claiming that the "Manwinder" family name, used in business, was being tarnished by Manwin.
"Additionally, defendant's letter advised the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to evaluate Manwin's actions as depicted on websites such as ManwinSucks.com [which Bulgin allegedly operated]," the suit said.
In another instance, Bulgin is accused of registering Manwin.co, using the name Yi Weng, which purported to be a Chinese woman who maintains a blog to discuss issues of spirituality and charity. "In an attempt to justify use of the Manwin trademark [of Manwin.co], defendant titled this website "ManWin — the huMAN WiNdow to the soul," the suit said.
Bulgin, who operated complaint site ManwinSucks.com, also is said to have posted a variety of adult industry message boards that got the attention of Manwin officials after the company filed suit against ICM Registry, the operators of the .XXX sTLD.
"Defendant exhorted members of the public to register infringing Manwin-related domain names and then re-direct those domains to ICM [Registry]," the suit said.
The bottom line, Manwin said in the suit, was that Bulgin "engaged in an elaborate scam to force Manwin to purchase the Manwin domains."
"Defendant acknowledged his activities, claimed that he had purchased the names in order to 'secure' them for Manwin, and agreed to transfer the Manwin domains," the suit said.
The Luxembourg-based adult company said that Bulgin sent dozens of emails to Manwin and its employees threatening to dilute the Manwin trademark and divert Manwin's traffic if it did not purchase the domains.
Bulgin also sent emails under the name "Jim Jagen" to Playboy Enterprises, which licenses its name to Manwin. Bulgin, the suit said, "accused Manwin of using "stolen property," and not "car[ing] much for the law or about how things should be done."
Manwin, however, later made a deal for some of the domains. But after the deal was brokered, the company said, Bulgin reneged on his agreement and claimed that his associates would not transfer them.
Later, "'Gill Manwinder' contacted Manwin, demanding that Manwin pay him $4,300 to transfer the domain name www.manwin.net," the suit said.
Manwin is asking for an injunction against Bulgin from infringing on similar-worded Manwin names and domains; a transfer of the domains Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com; $100,000 in damages and attorneys fees.
Bulgin declined speaking with XBIZ on the record Tuesday. Manwin spokeswoman Kate Miller told XBIZ the company does not comment on pending legal matters.