SAN FRANCISCO — A conditional settlement has been reached in the case of a Treasure Island Media marketing exec who purportedly took over the company's MitchMason.com website and exploited it after he left the company.
Terms of the settlement, which was reached in a telephonic hearing before an arbitrator in late September, were not revealed publicly.
However, a whois check shows that the website was transferred back last month to Paul Morris, the owner of Treasure Island Media.
The San Francisco-based studio, which specializes in gay bareback porn, could reinstate the case on or before Dec. 26 in the event that the settlement is not completed, according to a federal court order.
Treasure Island Media was seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction over former marketing director Jeffrey 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.
Treasure Island Media claimed Smith registered the company's domain name to himself earlier this year in a chance of opportunity when he worked at the company. The studio also contended that the former exec schematically removed other administrative users of online accounts and diverted company funds to purchase traffic for his own benefit.
Smith lead Treasure Island Media's marketing and its social media efforts, including writing blog posts under the "Mitch Mason" name. The suit said Smith abruptly left his position he held for two years after registering the site MitchMason.com.
Treasure Island Media, which holds a trademark for Mitch Mason in relation to online adult services, made 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 started up MitchMason.com several years ago. The site centered 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 counsel Ian Boyd did not immediately respond to XBIZ requests over comment in the case. Smith was unreachable.