Manwin Suit Over Cybersquatting, Defamation Expands
LOS ANGELES — Manwin has expanded claims against a Georgia man who is said to have created a "massive, ongoing harassment campaign" against the adult entertainment conglomerate.
Nicholas Bulgin of Georgia — who allegedly goes by a number of handles, including Gill Manwinder, Yi Weng, Chris Hill, Jim Jagen and "Radishdreams" — was charged in a civil suit by Manwin in April to have registered Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com in an effort to make extortion attempts.
In updated claims made last Friday, newly named defendant James Martin has been added to the complaint, which includes new charges that the defendants have moved their harassment campaign to Twitter and Blogspot.
Manwin said after Bulgin was served with the original suit in April, he claimed to have transferred Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com to Martin.
Just last month, the amended complaint said, Manwin discovered that the defendants had shifted activities to viral methods.
"Specifically, an individual using the handle @ManwinSucks made defamatory postings on Twitter," the first amended complaint said. "Many of these Twitter postings, in turn, linked to one or more BlogSpot pages which feature defamatory posts about Manwin, including serious, unfounded accusations that Manwin was involved in child pornography. Manwin is informed and believes, and on that basis avers, that defendants are the owners and operators of the Twitter account and Blogspot pages."
The new claims also state that defendants registered "dozens" of domain names incorporating Manwin's trademarks — not just the four originally named. The additional websites were not disclosed in the filing made at federal court in Los Angeles.
From the suit's get-go in April, Manwin has maintained claims that Bulgin and unnamed John Doe defendants in the past year have created a slew of fake names and personas purporting to own each of the "infringing" domains.
Manwin, for example, said that defendants 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."
The defendants are 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, the defendants are 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 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.
"Defendants 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 defendants "engaged in an elaborate scam to force Manwin to purchase the Manwin domains."
The Luxembourg-based adult company said that the defendants 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.
The defendants also sent emails under the name "Jim Jagen" to Playboy Enterprises, which licenses its name to Manwin. In the emails to Playboy, the defendants "accused Manwin of using stolen property and not car[ing] much for the law or about how things should be done."
Manwin later made a deal for some of the domains, but after the deal was brokered the defendants reneged on an agreement and claimed that associates would not transfer them. Later, "'Gill Manwinder' contacted Manwin, demanding that the company pay him $4,300 to transfer the domain name www.manwin.net," the suit said.
The suit charges the defendants with violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, defamation, intentional interference with prospective advantage and unfair competition.
Manwin is asking for an injunction against the defendants from infringing on similar-worded Manwin names and domains; a transfer of the domains Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com; and $100,000 in damages and attorneys fees.
Manwin also is asking for an injunction relative to the dissemination of false statement on the websites named in the suit, as well as the @ManwinSucks Twitter site and ManwinSucks.Blogspot.com.
Manwin spokeswoman Kate Miller told XBIZ the company does not comment on pending legal matters.
XBIZ was unable to reach Bulgin and Martin by post time.