WASHINGTON — Manwin has taken an unwavering stand protecting its brands and identities by registering U.S. trademarks.
Not surprisingly, the adult entertainment conglomerate in the past two years has been the most active among adult companies to file marks and litigate over them, as well as litigate against adverse decisions made by trademark examiners.
After all, Manwin already holds about two dozen trademarks of its marquee brands, ranging from KeezMovies to Spankwire to Tube8.
A recent appeal with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over its XTube.com brand illustrates just how determined the company is to make sure it protects its marks.
The company is appealing a federal examiner's opinion made earlier this year that ruled Manwin's "XTube" mark is confusingly similar to the mark embodied in "XXXTube," which already is registered for XXXTube.com. The examiner in the case refused to register XTube as a trademark.
In its appeal, Manwin attorneys make comparisons between the marks, focusing on a rainbow of reasons why the company should be granted the mark.
Sound and pronunciation was one of the reasons, they said.
"Appellant [Manwin]’s mark, XTube, is pronounced 'ex-tube,'" Manwin attorneys wrote. "In contrast, 'xxx' is pronounced 'triple-x.' Therefore, the cited mark, XXXTube is pronounced “triple-x-tube.” They are, therefore, radically different in sound.
"The only truly feasible pronunciations of XXXTube are 'triple-x-tube' ... or if the three consecutive Xs were seen as an accentuation of the letter X, as postulated ... 'ex-ex-ex-tube.' The latter, of course, would render the cited mark as a four-syllable, staccato word, and thus very different from appellant’s sibilant, two-syllable mark."
Manwin attorneys noted in their appeal that there are 26,000 domain names containing “xxx” and that there are more than 41,000 domain names containing "tube."
They also said that “x” and “xxx” have radically different connotations in connection with porn, which would set the respective marks apart, and that "tube" also has any number of meanings, "ranging from a reference to a cylinder to TV to a conduit."
While a decision on the XTube appeal is pending, Manwin has been active in other litigation involving trademarks.
Last year, a trademark examiner declined to allow the name HappyTugs registered, claiming it is "obscene." Manwin appealed the decision on the name, used in its domain name HappyTugs.com, but was denied again.
Manwin also is appealing a decision over its JuicyBoys mark. An examiner said the name was too close to the designer Juicy's name.
And just last month, Manwin appealed another decision made by an examiner over MomsBangTeens, which was ruled "vulgar or scandalous." That appeal is pending.
Manwin also has gone on the offensive over trademarks it owsn by filing claims with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against operator of WebCams.xxx and TeaseCams, which sought trademarks. Those cases, filed because Manwin has a registered mark in relation to its WebCams.com website, have been settled and dismissed.
Manwin's determination and willingness to incur legal fees in each of the cases illustrates the benefits, including financial ones, of owning a federal trademark registration.
Manwin officials declined comment for this story, but adult entertainment attorney Marc Randazza, who is not involved with Manwin litigation, says that the benefits of registering trademarks, particularly if it involves an online entity, is tremendous.
"It's very important for any business, particularly when your business is in media and plans to sell products and services," Randazza told XBIZ. "You distinguish your brand, and it is a tool one can use as an enforcement method when other companies infringe on your property.
"It's an asset, and it is simply bad business not to register your marks."