PC Tools won the first stage of the lawsuit brought against it by adware company Zango, formerly known as 180solutions. The court ruled that the Application for a Temporary Restraining Order brought by Zango be denied.
Zango sought to compel PC Tools to entirely remove the detection of their products by PC Tools’ market-leading anti-spyware application Spyware Doctor, claiming it interferes with Zango’s software.
“This result represents success for anti-spyware vendors and, most importantly a win for the public’s right to choose what software is allowed to be installed on their computers,” said Simon Clausen, Chief Executive of PC Tools. “We see this ruling as sending a strong message to other adware companies who may be tempted to bully anti-spyware makers into re-rating or removing their products from their database of malicious programs,” says Clausen.
In denying Zango’s application US District Judge John C. Coughenour in Washington, Seattle held that on the issue of alleged unfair or deceptive conduct by PC Tools: “The Court finds it unlikely that Plaintiff (Zango) will be able to prove that Defendant’s software was unfair or deceptive given that users knowingly download its (PC Tools') software to avoid potential malware.”
His Honour also added that in relation to Zango’s allegations of tortious interference, trade libel or violations of the Washington Consumers Protection Act that: “The court finds that Plaintiff (Zango) is unlikely to prevail on the merits of any of these three claims.” In delivering his views on PC Tools’ methods of classifying Zango products for its popular Spyware Doctor program His Honour added that: “Its (PC Tools’) classification is not unreasonable given Zango’s past conduct and in light of other companies’ similar classification of the plaintiff’s software.”
This lawsuit also comes in the wake of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) formal complaint in November 2006, which Zango settled and required them to give up $3 million in ill-gotten gains.
Despite the reclassification of three of Zango’s products as PUA’s (Potentially Unwanted Applications), PC Tools cautions consumers that many other high level malicious applications remain readily available on the Internet. PC Tools will continue to detect and remove all types of malicious threats and where appropriate re-classify them.