The owner of TheWordPressHelpers.com is being sued by the WordPress Foundation


(Leland Fiegel) #1

…for pretty blatant trademark infringement.

As reported by Andrew Allemann of Domain Name Wire, Yablon also owns several other “WordPress” domains.

The defendants own a number of WordPress related domain names including TheWordPressHelpDesk.com, TheWordPressTrainers.com, TheWordPressTeachers.com, TheWordPressDoctors.com, WordPressTraffic.com and TheWordPressTutors.com. These domain names forward to TheWordPressHelpers.com.

It seems like The WordPress Foundation has historically been pretty forgiving when it comes to not litigating to defend their clearly documented trademark policy, usually reserving legal action for pretty egregious instances of trademark infringement (i.e. combined with malware distribution), typically relying on a crowdsourced response of WordPress community members to help unaware domain owners steer clear of them.

Yablon, however, repeatedly ignored warnings in many tweets he was sent about it, like this one. Usually deflecting the concerns with downright bizarre language.

In the past, I’ve come across people who are unaware of the domain policy, and informed them of it. They’re typically pretty thankful for the heads up, and end up forwarding their domain to a “wp” equivalent, which is allowed under the policy.

In a case where such advice is so willfully ignored, all I can say is I wish the WordPress Foundation acted sooner.

Pinging @richardbest for his thoughts as well.


Since we can't have WORDPRESS on domains
(Mark Senff) #2

Ohhhh… with an attitude like that, they’re practically guaranteed to fail.

Cause even IF they would get away with the domain name, who wants to deal with a group (person?) that claims to be WordPress Helpers while publicly showing their arrogance towards the WordPress Foundation this way?

It’s a brave move, though!


(Rhys Wynne) #3

I cannot really talk about it (as I don’t know anything about it, IANAL etc.), but from my understanding, they had many opportunities to settle without getting this far. Obviously hasn’t worked…


(Leland Fiegel) #4

This is an interesting tweet from @Jeffro. Perhaps this was a calculated move or some sort of marketing/PR play? Doesn’t seem very well thought out, however.


(Rhys Wynne) #5

Yeah. I suspect it was done to get eyeballs on them. However I cannot see it ending well for him.


(Gerasimos) #6

First comment, first line. Pretty much sums everything up.
http://thewordpresshelpers.com/wordpress-trademark-lawsuit


(Rhys Wynne) #7

Urgh some of his comments are daft. “It isn’t a trademark violation because I don’t think it’s a trademark violation”.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never do business with the guy.


(Leo) #8

Hmm, the word, “Wordpress” definitely has been trademarked whether or not he argues it is 9 letters or not. Sigh. He could just change the domain name :frowning: Why won’t he?


(Mark Senff) #9

Because right now, after so much “pressure” and media attention, it looks like he’s just challenging the system. Any smart person would just realize it’s a lost cause (both because of legal pressure and less-than-positive reactions from the community) and back off, but he keeps going, so it looks like it’s become a question of principle.

It could be that he has sincere intentions (but is too arrogant and/or ignorant to realize how futile it is), it could be that he’s just trolling, it could be an advertising stunt. Who knows?

Perhaps he just doesn’t blindly take the WordPress Foundation’s claims for granted and wants to show that he thinks TWP isn’t this almighty power that can just tell everyone what they can and can’t do. I’ve seen people try that before (and usually fail). If that’s the case, I’m not sure what to think about it. The “Question Authority” attitude often gets my support, especially in political/governmental cases, but there’s a difference between being against something for moral/ethical reasons, and being against something just for the sake of being against it.


(Leland Fiegel) #10

I just read through the comments of @Jeffro’s post about Yablon’s trademark case at WP Tavern. It’s a doozy of a comment thread (try to ignore the anti-Jetpack rants) that’s currently closed.

After reading some of Yablon’s comments, I’m convinced that he’s convinced that he’s in the right. And to be honest, the case isn’t as futile as it seems. I’m not a lawyer or anything, but after reading his opposition and considering nominative fair use, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won.

But I definitely get the sense that there’s an element of stuntishness in this whole effort too. It’s been present ever since he started the site and refused to change the domain. And probably won’t subside until a verdict is ruled. Yablon isn’t showing any signs of backing down, even in the face of possible financial devastation.

With all that said, I wonder if this whole ordeal is worth it. Yablon isn’t exactly endearing himself to the WordPress community, although it seems he does have some supporters. Many sites, such as WPChat, get by just fine without those “nine letters” (as Yablon likes to refer to “wordpress”) in the domain and don’t need to rely on such controversy for attention.