Canadian Escort Service Ordered to Hand Over Domain to Playboy

Mar 10, 2015 3:21 PM PST

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A federal judge yesterday signed an order forcing a Calgary escort service website operator to hand over the domain name to Playboy Enterprises Inc.

Playboy in late August filed suit against the Pleasure Playmates Inc. agency, claiming it was squatting on its famous and trademarked adult entertainment brand and sub-brands, including “Playmate,” by employing the domain name to offer outcall services.

The suit followed a WIPO arbitration ruling one year earlier that ordered two other of Pleasure Playmates’ domains — and — be transferred to Playboy.

The WIPO arbitrator in the year-old UDRP case, however, decided that the Calgary service was entitled to the domain because Playboy’s “Playmate” mark didn’t extend to “companionship services.”

In the federal lawsuit at hand, however, a U.S. magistrate dismissed the WIPO ruling and recommended that the domain name be transferred to Playboy, citing a bad-faith registration and a failure by Pleasure Playmates Inc. to file timely objections to the report.

A federal judge yesterday signed off on the magistrate’s recommendation and ordered the domain transferred.

The order came after Pleasure Playmates executives made impassioned pleas in several letters to the court.

“It has never been our intention to divert customers from Playboy's mark [because] we can't — were in Calgary, Alberta, Canada,” a Pleasure Playmates executive wrote to the court. “There is no way we could harm Playboy's mark, neither from commercial gain or withthe intent to tarnish or disparage them, by creating a likelihood of confusion as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or any endorsement of the site. And there is no evidence of such things.”

The judge, however, dismissed the statements made by Pleasure Playmates executives and noted that any representation to the court must be made by counsel approved by the district.

At post time, the domain has yet to be transferred.

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