Manwin Seeks $400K, Domain Transfers in Trademark Suit
LOS ANGELES — Manwin has filed court papers spelling out what the adult entertainment conglomerate is seeking in its suit against Nicholas Bulgin.
The company is demanding $400,000 in damages from Bulgin, described in court papers as a "professional cybersquatter," for violating its trademarks — the statutory maximum for four websites Bulgin allegedly registered (Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com).
Manwin, in its motion for a default judgment, also is asking for approval to transfer the domains at the heart of the suit. Currently, the company does not own Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com.
The requests to the court, which is slated to hear Manwin's default motion on Feb. 21, go further.
Manwin wants a permanent injunction requiring Bulgin to cease registering more Manwin variant websites, as well as Twitter accounts or blogs, and cease from disseminating statements falsely accusing Manwin reps or even its managing partner, Fabian Thylmann. It also seeks $11,600 in attorneys fees.
Bulgin, who was served with the suit but has not responded to it, is accused by Manwin of extortion attempts against the company involving the domains and numerous blog sites he allegedly runs.
"In light of Bulgin’s outrageous conduct, Manwin seeks maximum statutory damages for each infringing domain name, for a total of $400,000," Manwin attorneys said.
"From the start, Bulgin’s conduct was willful, and it became progressively more egregious. Bulgin registered the Manwin domains knowing that they infringed Manwin’s trademarks," Manwin attorneys said. "Indeed, he selected these domain names despite – and because – of their infringing nature. Next, Bulgin attempted to extort payment from Manwin for the Manwin domains. When Manwin refused to pay, Bulgin became increasingly belligerent.
"He created a series of false personas who sent emails to each other and to Manwin’s business partners disparaging Manwin. Then he used the alias 'Gill Manwinder,' and attempted to interfere with Manwin’s trademark registration. Perhaps most egregiously, Bulgin used the ManwinSucks.com domain name as a platform to make false and defamatory statements about Manwin, and he has continued this defamation via Twitter and the BlogSpot page."
Manwin in its motion went on to say Bulgin is a professional cybersquatter, and that he has "it is not the first time Bulgin has been caught."
"He has registered hundreds of infringing domains, including Netflix.me, Smart-Cloud.net and VerizonWirelessSucks.co," Manwin attorneys said. "He recently tried to extort payments from the company Imperial Tobacco by purchasing the domain name ImperialTobacco.co and then creating a false persona, 'Victor Verdugo,' in an attempt to defraud the WIPO arbitration panel. The WIPO panel found that Bulgin’s conduct was a 'calculated scam, designed to extract from the complainant as much money for the transfer of the domain name as possible.'”
The case against Bulgin, who lives in Hampton, Ga., was initiated last April after Manwin officials took notice of Manwin.net, which included defamatory pieces relative to child porn on the site.
Manwin said that Bulgin registered the domain name Manwin.net, using the name Gill Manwinder to create a scheme to cause havoc at the company. The company also said that Bulgin used the alias "RadishDreams" in correspondence.
In one instance, Manwin said that Bulgin interfered in a U.S. trademark application after petitioning trademark examiners to cancel their application.
Manwinder, the suit said, claimed that Manwin his family's name. Manwinder claimed he was a businessman from the U.K. who was in the process of setting up various businesses using family name Manwinder.
In another instance, Bulgin and accomplices 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.
Manwin attorneys also say that the company had been victim to a threat, allegedly tied to Bulgin and others.
The threat, emailed from an encrypted web-based Hushmail account on July 5, was directed at Thylmann, the company's managing partner, and made threats of cyberattacks on Manwin. The email, titled "My Gift to You Fabian," was sent through Hushmail by a user under "firstname.lastname@example.org" address.
"I will keep this short," the email read. "Tomorrow while your sites are active, we're going to find every flaw to your security. We come together as one to take down the giant ... ."
Manwin all along in its suit filed at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles has charged that Bulgin "engaged in an elaborate scam to force Manwin to purchase the Manwin domains."
The adult entertainment giant said that the defendant 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.
Manwin later made a deal for some of the domains, but after the deal was brokered the defendant reneged on the agreement and claimed that they would not transfer them, the suit said.
In the latest brief to the court, Manwin made additional claims that Bulgin continues to harass the company and a default ruling is necessary to stop him.
"He has made direct threats against Manwin throughout the course of this litigation, including threatening to hack Manwin’s computer servers and expose personal information about Manwin’s customers," Manwin attorneys said. "Manwin has suffered and continues to suffer harm, and Bulgin will not stop unless the court orders him to do so."
Reached by email on Wednesday, Bulgin told XBIZ that "it really goes to show you the extent a company will go to win a frivolous lawsuit."
"In time, the truth will come out and mistakes will be realized," he said.
Manwin officials did not immediately respond for XBIZ comment.