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Search Inc. files lawsuit against Inc. alleging copying of proprietary web technology

San Francisco, California - Inc., a Delaware-registered company, has filed suit in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, against, Inc., alleging that the Sunnyvale-based software retailer committed acts of copyright infringement, trade secret theft, and breach of contract, among other things, in launching a "Desktop View" interface at its web site. The suit seeks more than $18 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and lost profits. has developed a unique Internet content delivery and navigation system that provides diverse content in a multi-windowed environment using a single desktop view. The company has also developed, a web content gateway to access and showcase its revolutionary technology.

Prior to launching its Desktop View feature, McAfee sought to acquire and license this proprietary software technology needed to operate this feature for $18 million. The suit alleges that during these negotiations, McAfee stated that despite months of effort, its engineers were unable to duplicate the speed, efficiency, design and reliability of the interface and, as a result, wished to purchase the company and license its technology. The parties entered a Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement in reliance on which Simple shared the secrets of its technology with McAfee and its software engineers.

According to the lawsuit, executives of the two companies met at the headquarters on March 22, 2000, to negotiate the acquisition of by and license its technology. The parties executed a mutual non-disclosure agreement, that among other things provided that "the confidential Information shall be used by the Receiving Party solely for evaluating and undertaking future business and/or transactions between and, and, that the receiving party shall not otherwise use, publish, or disclose the confidential information or circulate it within its organisation, other than as necessary to further the negotiations." Upon signing the agreement Inc. divulged pertinent information regarding the functioning of its windowed environment.

According to Inc.'s attorneys, Richard H. Zaitlen and Anthony J. Stanley of Pillsbury, Madison and Sutro LLP in Los Angeles, the Complaint alleges copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, conversion and unfair competition.

  • About Inc. is the developer of a unique Internet content delivery and navigation system that enables diverse content delivery in a multi-windowed environment within a single desktop view. Created in tandem, the company has developed the premiere portal, which is a web content gateway utilising the advanced delivery technology.'s vision is to make its patent-pending technologies and methodologies the de facto web-based operating system for navigation and content delivery in a familiar, easy to use, multi-windowed format.


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