SAN FRANCISCO — The former marketing director accused of taking over Treasure Island Media's MitchMason.com website while working at the gay porn studio told a federal court last month that the suit should be dismissed.
Jeffrey Smith, the former marketing director, registered the company's domain name to himself in a chance of opportunity, according to a lawsuit filed by Treasure Island Media in March.
Smith, however, told a federal magistrate judge that he denies all of the gay porn studio's allegations.
Among numerous charges, the San Francisco studio contends that the former exec schematically removed other administrative users of online accounts and diverted company funds to purchase traffic for his own benefit.
MitchMason.com, up until weeks ago, was active and provided content. But the website, which is still registered to Smith, is parked.
Smith, who didn't respond to XBIZ queries over the disabled site and current lawsuit, had asked a federal court to transfer the lawsuit to New York where he lives.
But the federal court in San Francisco denied his motion for a transfer; however it offered several caveats.
"Defendant will be allowed to appear in court by telephone when appropriate and plaintiff agreed to depose defendant in New York," U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth LaPorte said.
Smith, who began working for the company in January 2012, lead Treasure Island Media' s marketing and its social media efforts, including writing blog posts under the "Mitch Mason" name.
In February, however, Smith abruptly left the studio after registering the site, and to this day runs MitchMason.com, the suit said.
Treasure Island Media, which holds a trademark for Mitch Mason in relation to online adult services, slammed an array of charges against Smith, alleging cyberpiracy, breach of contract, trade secret appropriation, conversion, unjust enrichment, false designation of origin, unfair competition and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Treasure Island Media is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction over Smith's use of the Mitch Mason trademark, a transfer of the MitchMason.com domain name and $630,000 in damages, as well as profits realized by Smith using MitchMason.com.
MitchMason.com centers around the fictional Mitch Mason, a "go-go dancer-turned-business school student-turned-club promoter-turned adult blogger" and relative of another Treasure Island Media brand and depiction, Matt Mason.
Treasure Island Media attorneys also did not respond to XBIZ requests over comment in the case.