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WordPress wins another round against Chris Pearson

Thesis creator loses cybersquatting case.

WordPressAutomattic, the company behind WordPress, has successfully defended a challenge by Thesis developer Chris Pearson over the domain name Thesis.com.

Pearson had a high profile spat with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg about five years ago. Pearson had released his Thesis software with a licensing fee; Mullenweg argued it should be released under GPL because it contained lots of code from WordPress. The issue was apparently settled in 2010.

Late last year, the owner of the Thesis.com domain approached multiple parties about buying the domain name. Automattic claims that Pearson was contacted about the domain name, but Automattic outbid him, paying $100,000 for the domain name.

Fast forward to 2015. Pearson filed a cybersquatting complaint with National Arbitration Forum to try to get the domain name.

The three person panel found that Pearson did not prove Automattic registered and used the domain name in bad faith.

Regardless of the decision, I think it’s fair to say that the only reason Automattic bought the domain name was because of Pearson’s popular product.

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  1. Friend says

    It’s a one word generic/descriptive, common word domain name, 100K is a fair market value for it (on the cheap side), regardless of any product.

  2. C.S. Watch says

    WordPress has soiled their brand, but dictionary word domains should be sacred ground in the UDRP, so one can’t balk at this outcome.

    The Panel almost found ‘legitimate interest,’ which is a ground for denial of complaint. The Panel stated, “Therefore, this Panel considers that Respondent’s purchase of the domain name for $100,000.00 could confer rights sufficient for Policy ¶ 4(c)(i) rights and legitimate interests, had adequate evidence to that effect been adduced.”

    So, if one establishes that, prior to the dispute, one paid a substantial sum for the domain, that acquisition cost is a demonstration of legitimate interest? That would be of comfort to all domain investors who have acquired costly assets.

    Has anyone seen this line in other decisions?

  3. A says

    How does wordpress claim thewordpresshelpers.com can’t even use their name in the domain, and sue to try to seize all their domains with wordpress in the name, when they actually pertain to helping people with wordpress, but thesis.com redirects to a completely unrelated website. It does seem to be an actual trademark case causing brand confusion where thesis.com points to a completely different theme builder product, an actual competing product. Whereas wordpress wants to sue to take away domains other people buy for whatever amount, just because they use the word wordpress and are clearly distinguished causing no brand confusion whatsoever??

  4. wooexpert says

    Are you guys sticking to the “we purchased thesis.com for $100k because it’s a cool generic name”?

    The more years I live, I realize there is only one standard in this world… The double standard!

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