Financial Services Giant AXA Wins Cybersquatting Case Against 2 Porn Sites
PARIS — A WIPO arbitrator last month sided with AXA S.A., the French global investment and insurance conglomerate, which claimed that two porn websites, AXAPorn.com and AXATube.com, were cybersquatting on its brand.
As a result, the arbitrator ordered both sites transferred to AXA.
AXA is a conglomerate of independently run businesses, operated according to the laws and regulations of many different countries. But porn isn't one of them.
AXA said in a cybersquatting claim that the two sites, both containing sexually explicit content, have been operating for quite some time; AXAPorn.com was registered in July 2011 and AXATube.com in June 2008.
The Paris-based company said that it has registered the trademark "AXA" in several countries, including the E.U., and that it well known worldwide with its 96 million customers and 214,000 employees. The company, the second-largest insurer in Europe, had revenue of €86 billion in 2011.
The operator of AXAPorn.com and AXATube.com, according to the claim, is Ruben Weiner of Apeldoom, the Netherlands. Weiner did not answer the complaint as respondent.
AXA said that the respondent used the disputed domain names to offer porn content and derive pay-per-click revenue. The company called the practice “porno-squatting.”
Further, the word “axa” has no dictionary meaning, AXA said, and the disputed domain names were registered in order to take advantage of its reputation.
Tuukka Airaksinen, the WIPO arbitrator, ruled that it was unlikely that the respondent would not have been aware of the AXA's trademark when registering the disputed domain names.
"The panel also considers that using a domain name that is confusingly similar to a well-known trademark for pornographic services, especially when also deriving pay-per-click revenue, advertising links to third-party pornographic websites, is evidence of use and registration of the disputed domain names in bad faith," Airaksinen wrote.
"On one hand it may harm the reputation of the trademark and on the other hand the respondent is using the complainant’s mark to attract Internet users to its websites for commercial gain."
Airaksinen ordered the websites transferred on May 19; however, at post time, both sites continue to offer adult entertainment.