FEDERAL COURT DENIES ATTEMPT BY MAILBLOCKS, INC. TO SHUT DOWN SPAM ARREST LLC
Chief U.S. District Judge Hands Spam Arrest a Victory, Saying Mailblocks Fails To Prove Valid Patents for "Challenge-Response" System to Stop Junk Email
Seattle, Washington -- June 11, 2003.
U.S. District Judge John Coughenour has denied a request for a preliminary injunction brought by Mailblocks, Inc. against Spam Arrest LLC that would have halted the company's ability to sell its system for blocking junk email.
Judge Coughenour, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington at Seattle, ruled in an order entered Tuesday (June 10) that there are "substantial questions" as to whether Mailblocks has valid patents on the "challenge-response" spam blocking system that both companies use. He said his findings "make questionable Mailblocks' chance of success on the merits."
"This is a terrific legal victory for Spam Arrest because it validates our argument that the technology Mailblocks claims to have patented has been recognized for over a decade," according to Brian Cartmell, President and CEO of Spam Arrest. "We have believed all along that we improved on a concept that has been known for many years, making it more robust, technically advanced, foolproof and inexpensive."
Mailblocks filed summary judgment motions against the fast-growing Spam Arrest last month and also sued Earthlink to try to bar its anti-spam tool. Since there are now multiple Mailblocks lawsuits over the patent issue, Spam Arrest asked the Seattle district court to stay action on the suit by Mailblocks so that the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL Panel) could be asked to consolidate all of the actions. Judge Coughenour granted Spam Arrest's request for a stay.
"We demonstrated to the court that systems for making junk email economically unfeasible were recognized as early as 1992," according to Derek A. Newman, a Seattle litigator who represents Spam Arrest. He noted that the technique Spam Arrest uses to block email generated by machines was clearly outlined back in 1996. "Publications describing the technology Spam Arrest uses predate the patents, which are therefore invalid under the 'prior art' standard. The judge agreed that Mailblocks has 'failed to make a clear showing of probable success on the merits' and that questions remain as to the patents' validity."
ABOUT SPAM ARREST
Spam Arrest LLC is a Seattle-based company that has developed an efficient, simple and inexpensive system that stops spam. The company has been growing at a rate of over 20% per month. There is no software to install and the system is not intrusive. After a sender's first message to a Spam Arrest subscriber is verified, there is no further interaction. Subscribers may also pre-authorize senders. Spam Arrest continually monitors automated junk email techniques and upgrades automatically as necessary to protect its subscribers. For more information visit www.spamarrest.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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U.S. District Court order (PDF)