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News Releases

German Court Blocks Gator Spyware 'Pop-up' Advertising

- U.S. Federal Court and State of Utah Also Take Action -

PRNewswire
ESCHBORN, Germany and PARK RIDGE, N.J.
Mar 26, 2004

The Hertz Corporation's German vehicle rental subsidiary, Hertz Autovermietung GmbH, announced that the Court of First Instance in Cologne has issued a preliminary injunction this month prohibiting Claria Corporation from using its software to place advertising, including "pop-up" and "pop-under" ads, on Hertz's website, www.hertz.de. Claria was previously known as Gator Corporation.

The court, citing sections of the German Act against Unfair Competition, ruled that Claria must stop "placing or allowing the placement of software-controlled automatic advertisements ... on (Hertz') Internet page www.hertz.de without (Hertz') consent, in particular in the form of pop-up and pop-under advertising windows." Each violation of the injunction carries penalties of up to EUR 250,000 or up to six months imprisonment.

"Gator's unsolicited pop-up ads constitute an unwarranted intrusion that disrupts Hertz's ability to do business with online customers," said Remy Keijzer, General Manager of Hertz in Germany. "We are gratified that the court in Cologne has recognized that Hertz and its online customers are harmed every time these ads appear, often without the full knowledge and consent of individuals who may have inadvertently installed Gator's spyware on their home computers," he added.

The decision in Cologne is the first court ruling in Germany related to so-called "adware" software. It comes roughly three months after the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that similar software created by WhenU, another Internet adware company, violated trademark laws in the United States. That decision is currently on appeal before the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals and Hertz, which is not a party to the WhenU litigation, has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of the plaintiff companies suing WhenU.

In addition to the U.S. trademark protections currently available to website owners, the State of Utah has enacted a new law that provides additional protection from unwanted, spyware-driven advertising. On March 24, 2004, Utah Governor Olene Walker signed into law legislation, effective May 3, 2004, that creates a private right of action in Utah for website and trademark owners subjected to unsolicited spyware advertising on their proprietary websites.

Hertz is the world's largest general use car rental company with approximately 7200 locations in over 150 countries.

SOURCE: The Hertz Corporation

CONTACT: Richard Broome of The Hertz Corporation, +1-201-307-2486