Judge Asked to Grant Manwin's Default Motion Request
LOS ANGELES — Manwin filed court papers last week trying to prove jurisdiction over Nicholas Bulgin, who has been accused of violating the adult company's trademarks.
The long-running suit has reached a point where the adult entertainment conglomerate has asked a federal judge in Los Angeles to grant a default motion in the $400,000 lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge George Wu is scheduled to rule on the motion on Monday.
Bulgin, who was allegedly served and has been communicative with opposing counsel as well as XBIZ for news reports, has failed to respond to the suit. Bulgin lives in Hampton, Ga.
Manwin is demanding $400,000 in damages from him for violating its trademarks — the statutory maximum for four websites Bulgin allegedly signed up — for registering Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com.
Manwin also is asking for approval to transfer the domains at the heart of the suit and 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 compensation for attorneys fees.
Earlier this year, Manwin was ordered by the court to show cause relative to personal jurisdiction over Bulgin.
In its response last week, Manwin said that Bulgin "purposefully directed" activities in California, where it has headquarters in Burbank, Calif.
Manwin said that the Burbank office is the company's only U.S. office and that it employs approximately 150 full-time employees and 137 part-time employees.
The supplemental brief to show cause said that beginning in the second half of 2011, Bulgin mounted an "escalating campaign of cybersquatting, harassment, and defamation with the goal of extorting Manwin to pay him large sums of money" and later tried to interfere in its licensing deal for Playboy Plus Entertainment.
"First, Bulgin targeted one of Manwin’s most important business partners, Playboy Enterprises International, which is based in Beverly Hills, Calif.," the brief said. "The deal was publicly reported and ultimately closed Nov. 1, 2011. However, during the pendency of the deal, on or about Aug. 22, 2011, Bulgin (using the fake name 'Jim Jagen') reached out to Playboy Enterprises and accused Manwin of using 'stolen property.'
"Bulgin went on to write, '[a]s for your joint venture with Manwin, I suggest you seriously look at who you do business with because it can bring great harm to your own company name.' "
The case against Bulgin was initiated in April 2012 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.
Besides the Playboy 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.
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, was directed at Fabian Thylmann, the company's managing partner, and made threats of cyberattacks on Manwin.
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."
Manwin said that Bulgin sent dozens of emails to company employees threatening to dilute the Manwin trademark and divert its traffic if it did not purchase the domains.
Manwin later made an agreement for some of the domains, but after the deal was brokered Bulgin reneged on it and claimed he wouldn't transfer them, the company's lawsuit said.
Bulgin on Friday declined comment on the case to XBIZ.