RALEIGH, N.C. — The licensor and operator of adult webcam and dating site Eros.com and related escort sites recently scored a victory in a cybersquatting case after an arbitrator ruled that ErosEscorts.org be transferred over to them.
Group Kaitu LLC, the holder of U.S. trademarks for Eros Escorts and other "Eros" names, along with Darkside Productions, the licensee for various "Eros" sites, learned in December that a competing company was operating ErosEscorts.org, offering similar escort link ups worldwide.
The complainants, Group Kaitu and Darkside Productions, have been running "eros" sites for years. Some of their sites include Eros.com, Eros-Guide.com, ErosGuide.com, ErosEscorts.com, ErosEscort.com, ErosEscort.net and ErosEscorts.net.
Group Kaitu, the licensor of the "Eros" name, holds trademarks for the brands in the U.S., U.K., Benelux and the E.U.
The respondent did not respond to claims, according to the WIPO arbitrator handling the claim.
But the fact that the respondent, identified as Lloyd Gerald of Right Online Investments in Hong Kong, did not submit a rebuttal does not automatically result in a decision in favor of the complainants, the arbitrator noted.
Group Kaitu and Darkside Productions contended in their case that ErosEscorts.org's operator was never authorized to use the "eros" mark, a mark that they have been using for 15 years and that has been registered for 12 years.
Further, the companies said there is no evidence to suggest that the respondent has become commonly known by the disputed domain name.
"The respondent has not been making a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the disputed domain name, without intent to misleadingly divert consumers for commercial gain," the complainants said in the filing. "The disputed domain name currently resolves to a website that provides a directory for escort services in the U.S., and features links to advertisements that generate revenue for the respondent, and also uses the complainant’s 'Eros' trademarks."
The arbitrator in the case sided with Group Kaitu and Darkside Productions, ruling that the respondent registered and used ErosEscorts.org with the intent of trading on the reputation of the complainants’ "Eros" trademarks and earn advertising revenue.
As a result, WIPO panelist Gabriela Kennedy ordered ErosEscorts.org transferred to Group Kaitu and Darkside Productions.
Richmond, Va.-based Gavin Law Firm represented Group Kaitu and Darkside Productions in the case.