FREE INTERNET FIRMS BATTLE OVER SOFTWARE NETZERO, JUNO FILE LAWSUITS.Byline: Jesse Hiestand Staff Writer
Two of the last remaining free Internet providers Internet provider - Internet Service Provider , including NetZero Inc. of Westlake Village, are battling each other in court over the technology that allows them to put people on the Net at no charge.
NetZero, the leading free Internet service An ISP that provides access to the Internet without charge to the user. The service is supported by advertising which appears on a special version of the user's browser and cannot be eliminated. NetZero (www.netzero. provider with about 6 million users, said Wednesday that it has sued Juno Online Services Juno client software icon
Juno is an Internet service provider based in the United States. It is a subsidiary of United Online, which also owns NetZero and Bluelight Internet Services. Inc. for patent infringement patent infringement n. the manufacture and/or use of an invention or improvement for which someone else owns a patent issued by the government, without obtaining permission of the owner of the patent by contract, license or waiver. in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. .
New York-based Juno, with a combined 3.7 million subscribers to both its free and fee-based service, denies the claim and in turn accuses NetZero of infringing on one of its patents, which led to a separate suit in June.
``We look forward to seeing both our suit against NetZero and this new suit brought by NetZero resolved through the appropriate legal process,'' Juno's president and chief executive officer, Charles Ardai Charles Ardai (born 1969) is an entrepreneur, writer, and editor. He is best known as the founder and CEO of Juno, an Internet company, and more recently as the founder and editor of Hard Case Crime, a line of pulp-style paperback crime novels. , said in a statement.
Even without lawsuits, the road for free ISPs has been a rough one this year.
Just this month, Internet incubator CMGI CMGI Commonly Maintained Grounds Infrastructures
CMGI College Marketing Group Information (Services) of Andover, Mass., pulled the plug on its money-losing 1stUp.com, the behind-the-scenes providers for several free services (O.Eng. Law) such feudal services as were not unbecoming the character of a soldier or a freemen to perform; as, to serve under his lord in war, to pay a sum of money, etc.
See also: Free , including AltaVista, which subsequently cut off its 4 million users.
Also in December, Spinway Inc. of Sunnyvale said it was ceasing operations, jeopardizing the free access it provided for Yahoo Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc. and Kmart Corp, which plans to buy some of Spinway's assets for its e-commerce company, BlueLight.com.
NetZero claims Juno infringed on U.S. Patent No. 6,157,946, which it said allows advertisements and messages to be displayed in a window separate from the browser. NetZero calls this the ZeroPort, the source of banner ads that users must have on their screen in order to access the Internet for free, instead of paying up to $20 per month.
NetZero claims The Juno Guide is nearly identical to ZeroPort since it also offers navigation and advertisements and must be on while someone uses Juno's free service.
``We intend to judiciously protect our rights granted by this patent,'' said Mark R. Goldston, chairman and chief executive officer of NetZero. ``We believe this patent applies to the ad-delivery process used by many of our competitors for both targeted and untargeted advertisements and will provide NetZero with a significant competitive edge in this environment.''