On July 8 2015, Chris Pearson lost the legal battle against Automattic Inc for the ownership to the domain name: Thesis.com. For those of you that don’t know who Chris Pearson is, he is the founder of DIYThemes – most notably known for the premium WordPress theme called Thesis. On the other side of the battle was Automattic Inc, the company founded by Matt Mullenweg and best known for its blogging software, WordPress.
Chris filed the UDRP against Automattic Inc under the basis of copyright infringement. For most of us, this would have seemed like a closed and shut case for Chris considering he has a trademark for “Thesis” which protects him against competitors using the brand in the same niche. The result was quite the opposite.
Surprisingly, the UDRP panel ruled in favor of Automattic. According to the UDRP ruling: Automattic had won because Chris “failed to bring sufficient proof to show that [Automattic] registered and used the disputed name in bad faith.”
According to Chris:
“My attorney did not think an addendum showing a traceroute from thesis.com to themeshaper.com was necessary since Automattic had admitted to forwarding the domain in its official response to the UDRP claim. Personally, I was considering this part of the claim to be a done deal since Automattic had already admitted to the forwarding, and the decision actually cites that fact earlier in the opinion! (Common sense was in play here, too: Go to your browser, type in thesis.com, and see what happens.)”
As much as this case makes you want to shake your head – that little oversight to include an addendum in the UDRP claim cost Chris a lot of time, money, and a big-time domain name.
This UDRP battle is just one of several battles between Chris Pearson and Matt Mullenweg. Their beefing seems to have started back in 2010 over some licensing disagreements. Prior to this UDRP battle, Chris Pearson had an opportunity to acquire this domain from the seller, but did not want to pay the asking price. Instead, Matt Mullenweg purchased it for $100,000. It was after Matt Mullenweg’s purchase that Chris Pearson decided to pursue the domain in a UDRP court. Thesis.com currently redirects to ThemeShaper.com, a blog owned and operated by Automattic.
You can read the original debate between Chris and Matt at: Mixergy
Chris tells his side of the story here after the UDRP ruling: The Truth about Thesis.com
What do you think about this whole situation?