Manwin Licensing

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Manwin.JPG
Type: Privately held
Industry: Information Technology
Founded: 2007
Founder(s): Fabian Thylmann
Headquarters: Luxembourg City
Country: Luxembourg
Employees: 700
Email: info[at]manwin.com
Website: www.manwin.com
Key People
Fabian Thylmann,Founder & Managing Partner

Manwin Licensing is an information technology and licensing company which owns and operates adult oriented trademarks and websites. The company's main office is located in Luxembourg with offices located in Hamburg, London, Los Angeles, Nicosia, and Montreal.

Background

Manwin was founded by Fabian Thylmann, a geek from Germany who specializes in search engine optimization. He started developing codes for porn sites at the age of 17. Thylmann learned that porn sites gain high web traffic with good profitability so he started acquiring small adult entertainment sites such as PrivatAmateure, MyDirtyHobby, XTube and Brazzers. Manwin became the official name of the company when it expanded and acquired several porn sites for over 140 million.[1] [2] [3]

In November, 2011, Manwinn entered a partnership agreement with Playboy Enterprises, Inc. to manage the operations of Playboy TV worldwide, including its non-branded adult television and online businesses.[4] During the same month, the company also introduced Legendary Stats, an affiliate aggregation product website which allows users to access all of Manwin's products using one log-in.[5]

Services

The company provides the following solutions to its customers:[6]

  • Web Application Development
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Website Optimization
  • Business Intelligence

ICANN & Lawsuits

Antitrust Lawsuit against ICANN and ICM Registry

On November 15, 2011, Manwin and Digital Playground filed an anti-trust lawsuit against ICM Registry and ICANN. The company claims that ICM and ICANN conducted anti-competitive, monopolistic conduct, price gouging and unfair practices. The complainants asked the court to issue an injunction order on the .xxx sTLD, order ICANN to open a re-bidding process for the sTLD, and to require price constraints for ICM. The legal charges were filed at the United States Central District Court of California.[7] Following the lawsuit, Manwin also requested the International Centre for Dispute Resolution conduct an Independent Review Proceedings (IRP) with regards to ICANN's actions.[8] [9] Manwin is only the second company to ever file an IRP with ICANN; the first was filed by ICM Registry after the ICANN Board initially approved then denied the .xxx extension after the 2004 round of gTLD expansion. Manwin's IRP was aimed mainly at .xxx, but raises questions of legitimacy for the rest of ICANN's 2012 new gTLD program.[10]

In January, 2012, Manwin acquired Digital Playground.[11] Later that month, ICANN and ICM both filed motions to dismiss the case. ICANN argued that, as it was an organization not engaged in "trade or commerce," the US anti-trust laws did not apply to it; additionally, both ICM and ICANN argued that Manwin's filing was essentially complaining about the possible increase in competition for them. ICM cited that Manwin had earlier attempt to approach them with a supposed mutually-beneficial agreement, in which Manwin would acquire various premium .xxx domains for free, in exchange sharing the profits of these domains with ICM. When ICM turned down the agreement, Manwin Managing Partner Fabian Thylmann said that he would do whatever he could to stop .xxx.[12] ICANN's and ICM's motions to dismiss can be found here and here respectively.

In mid-February, Manwin, ICANN and ICM Registry announced that they were in talks and hoping to resolve some or all of the outstanding complaints. The motions to dismiss the case filed by ICANN and ICM were temporarily put on hold.[13] On February 17, the company amended its anti-trust lawsuit against ICANN and ICM Registy. According to Manwin's counsel Kevin E. Gaut, two related state law claims were dropped to avoid potential risks of trial delays.[14]

In August, 2012, a mixed ruling by the Central District of California District Court accepted only 2 out of ICANN and ICM's 7 motions to dismiss. The court ruled that ICANN would be subject to anti-trust law, as ICM pays fees to them in order to be permitted to run the .xxx domain space, and that the trial would proceed with focus on the "defensive registrations" market.[15]

In September, Manwin filed comments against ICM's applications for three adult TLDs through ICANN's New gTLD Program. It argued that, if approved, these TLDs, .adult, .sex, and .porn would give ICM a monopoly over the adult business domain space.[16]

In October, 2012, ICM filed a counter-suit against Manwin. The company alleged that Manwin has cost them at least $120 million in damages by using its adult industry market power to convince other companies not to do business with the .xxx TLD.[17] ICM Registry's counter-suit was later thrown out of court; the judge stated, "“Harm to ICM only is not sufficient to constitute antitrust injury. It must allege harm to the competitive process.” ICM can redraft its claims to be resubmitted to the court.[18]

Cybersquatting & UDRP cases

In January, 2012, Manwin filed its first UDRP case. It claims that a Russian registrant had infringed on its PornHub.com site.[19]

In early 2012, Manwin filed two cybersquatting suits targeting 52 domain names that are similar to YouPorn and Tube8. In June, they filed another suit against 28 domain names; in August filed against 24 more, also against domains similar to their brands xHamster.com and Pornhub.com; and in September filed two additional suits against 7 more domains. All suits target John Does and ask for $100,000 in damages per domain name.[20][21]

In March 2012, Manwin filed a cybersquatting and defamation suit against Nicholas Bulgin of Georgia, USA, for a "massive, ongoing harassment campaign" and "exorbitant monetary demands" for purchase of the domains Manwin.net, Manwin.co, Brazzer.us and ManwinSucks.com.

Manwin alleges that Bulgin used the pseudonyms Gill Manwinder, Yi Weng, Chris Hill, Jim Jagen and "Radishdreams" in order to register domains using the company's trademarks in bad faith. Bulgin registered Manwin.net using the name "Gill Manwinder," purportedly a businessman from the U.K. who was in the process of setting up businesses under his family name "Manwinder." Bulgin later is said to have used the "Gill Manwinder" name to interfere in Manwin's U.S. trademark application, claiming that Manwin was tarnishing the "Manwinder" family name and business. Bulgin is also accused of registering Manwin.co using the name Yi Weng, who is purported to be a Chinese woman maintaining a blog about spirituality and charity. "In an attempt to justify use of the Manwin trademark, defendant titled this website "ManWin — the huMAN WiNdow to the soul," the suit said.

Manwin claimed that that Bulgin has sent dozens of emails to the company and its employees that threaten to dilute the Manwin trademark and divert Manwin's traffic away from its legitimate domains if it did not purchase the domains he had registered. Manwin is asking for an injunction against Bulgin to stop him from infringing on 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.[22] In April, Manwin subpoenaed data relative to the suit from Domains by Proxy, GoDaddy and Charter Communications. In July, Manwin was given permission to subpoena four more ISPs (Google, Phonebooth Inc., Hushmail and Formless Network) in order to learn the identities of those responsible for the escalating harassment campaign against the company and its management. The company has connected a series of threats against Managing Partner Fabian Thylmann, threatening a cybersecurity breach and takedown of Manwin's domains.[23]

References