Thursday, November 20, 2003


Judge rules in favor of pop-up purveyor | CNET News.com  

Judge rules in favor of pop-up purveyor | CNET News.com: "Judge rules in favor of pop-up purveyor
Last modified: November 19, 2003, 4:00 PM PST
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

A federal court judge dismissed Wells Fargo's motion to block a software maker that launches rival pop-up advertisements when customers access the bank's Web site.
Judge Nancy Edmunds of the U.S. District Court of Michigan's Southern Division on Wednesday denied Wells Fargo's motion for a preliminary injunction against WhenU, a distributor of free advertising software, that was aimed at disarming the pop-up purveyor. The judge also issued a memorandum opinion on the case.
Wells Fargo and plaintiff Quicken Loans charged that WhenU violated their copyrights and trademarks by delivering ads for rival Web sites to consumers while they were visiting their own sites.
'The fact that some WhenU advertisements appear on a computer screen at the same time (the) plaintiffs' Web pages are visible in a separate window does not constitute a use in commerce of the plaintiffs' marks,' Judge Edmunds wrote as one of the arguments against an injunction.
While only a preliminary opinion, it echoes an earlier judgment in favor of WhenU in its case against U-Haul International. Like Wells Fargo and a handful of other litigants, U-Haul had charged WhenU with trademark and copyright violations, among other complaints, as a result of pop-ups for competing movers that appeared on U-Haul's Web pages. In September, a Virginia U.S. District Court judge granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of WhenU."

On first look, I got really mad. Then I read the whole thing and found out that the competing ads were served up by other programs. That is, you had to agree to have these ads show up as a condition of using some other piece of software for free. No ads - no free application. So, the people who saw these ads had agreed to have them pop up. So, I can see where the judge told the 'infringed' parties to get lost. Sad, but some people are willing to agree to aggravating ads in order to have free software...

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