NetZero gains temporary restraining order against Juno Online Services

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Free Internet service NetZero Jan. 8 announced that it was awarded a temporary restraining order against rival Juno Online Services.

In December NetZero filed suit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles alleging that Juno's floating advertising window called the Juno Guide infringed its patent. NetZero has patent for its technology called ZeroPort, a persistent on-screen window that serves as a navigational tool. The order temporarily prevents Juno from displaying third-party advertisements in the Juno floating ad banner window, a persistent window that is separate from the browser. Juno can continue to serve its own ads in that space.

The order extends until mid-March 2001, at which time another hearing is scheduled where NetZero will ask the court to extend and possibly expand the order until the trial. The judge set the trial for July 2001. Juno said only a few of its ads appear in the floating ad banner; it can still serve pop-ups and integrated ads. President-CEO Charles Ardai in a statement said: "To put this ruling into perspective, about two-thirds of Juno's revenues are currently derived from subscriptions to its billable premium services, while the remaining third comes from various forms of advertising and e-commerce, only a small part of which is based on the floating ad banner shown to users of our free basic service," he said. "It is our contention, however, that even this narrowly defined form of advertising does not in fact infringe on any valid patent issued to NetZero. For this reason, we still intend to vigorously contest the allegations made by NetZero in this lawsuit."

Juno also has a pending lawsuit case against NetZero.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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