Bully Beatdown: Automattic Loses Trademark Cancellation Case

Remember when WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg used his company, Automattic, to purchase thesis.com for $100,000 just to spite me?

Apparently, Mullenweg was unsatisfied by a questionable ruling that saw Automattic retain ownership of the domain. He wanted more.

In an attempt to twist the knife, Mullenweg directed Automattic to open a Federal Trademark Cancellation case to try and strip me of the following trademarks: THESIS, THESIS THEME, and DIYTHEMES.

After nearly two years, the trademark cancellation case is finally over, and I “won.”

What did I win? It would appear Automattic no longer has legal ammunition to bully me into submission, debt, or whatever other horrible outcome Mullenweg no doubt wishes upon my head.

Quite the prize, I know.

WP Tavern’s Editorial “Discretion”

As was the case during the thesis.com kerfluffle, this most recent ruling has generated a lot of negative commentary about both Automattic and Mullenweg.

And just like before, WP Tavern is now actively removing (or declining to publish) comments that are either too favorable toward me or too unfavorable toward Automattic and Mullenweg.

To their credit, WP Tavern reached out to me for comment before publishing, but I did not see the email in time.

I eventually responded, but now that the censorship has begun, I have decided to publish my response here as an official statement on Mullenweg’s litigious inclinations and possible misappropriation of Automattic resources.

Official Statement from Chris Pearson

WP Tavern asked, “Are you doing or will do anything with the trademarks?” (now that I get to keep what was already mine…)

This process has taught me there is only one thing you can “do” with trademarks—use them as a legal cudgel to beat entities who infringe on them.

Before this rather educational experience, I thought trademarks were something you registered and then advertised in your site footer once your business reached some basic level of legitimacy.

Truth is, for most of us, trademarks are just another way a motivated party with too much money can screw with your livelihood.

That’s precisely what happened here, and as this outcome shows, Automattic was happy to throw money at this nothingburger for 2+ years, even though they stood to gain nothing!

The only potential “gain” was further sabotaging me and my business. This was always intended to damage Chris Pearson rather than lift up Automattic in any way.

If I were an Automattic investor or board member, I’d want to know why Matt Mullenweg was willing to spend $100,000 on thesis.com and then spend untold thousands in legal fees for 2+ years, seemingly out of spite.

In my view, these actions are irresponsible at best and utterly incompetent at worst.