GlobeNewswire

Appellate Court Hands Momentous Victory to TriMax Over Wickfire

Share

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decisive ruling that TriMax Media committed no legal violations against Wickfire, L.L.C., while recognizing a jury’s finding that Wickfire intentionally interfered with TriMax’s business.

DALLAS, March 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After seven years of litigation, TriMax has triumphed over Wickfire.

On February 26, 2021, an Appellate Court issued a paramount ruling that Wickfire lacked any evidence to support its claims against TriMax. The decision was made in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Case Number 17-3043040. The Appellate Court’s ruling reversed all monetary damages previously awarded to Wickfire.

The lawsuit, originally before the Western District of Texas, Case No. 14-CV-34, centered around Google AdWords Auctions, an online-auction platform where companies like TriMax and Wickfire compete for advertising space. Wickfire asserted innumerable claims against TriMax, but as to each one, Wickfire ultimately failed:

  • Wickfire alleged TriMax intentionally interfered with Wickfire’s contracts, intentionally interfered with Wickfire’s prospective business, and committed civil conspiracy. The Appellate Court, however, disagreed fully, finding “Wickfire offered no such proof” and declaring that each of these claims failed “as a matter of law.”

  • Wickfire also alleged TriMax violated trademark law under the Lanham Act. The jury, however, awarded Wickfire no damages on the claim. Furthermore, the Appellate Court found Wickfire not to be the “prevailing party” on that claim, and in doing so, rejected Wickfire’s improper attempt to seek attorneys’ fees under the trademark statute.

  • Finally, Wickfire brought claims against TriMax for injury to business reputation, business disparagement, defamation, unfair competition, and misappropriation. However, Wickfire retracted each of those claims before the trial, and therefore, these claims did not even reach the appellate level.

TriMax filed its successful appeal in the wake of a lower court’s judgment, in which the court erroneously awarded $2.3 million to Wickfire. Because Wickfire lacked any evidence whatsoever to support its claims, the Appellate Court reversed the judgment, overturned the award, and ordered the trial court to issue a new judgment. Based on the Appellate Court decision, the new judgment should award Wickfire nothing.

In the same lawsuit, the jury previously found Wickfire LLC and its co-owners, Chet Hall and Jon Brown, to have intentionally interfered with TriMax Media's business. TriMax argued that Wickfire intentionally interfered with TriMax’s contracts by (1) paying kickbacks to merchant representatives in exchange for exclusivity agreements; (2) impersonating TriMax by placing unauthorized ads that plagiarized TriMax’s ad copy and contained other identifying information of TriMax; (3) repeatedly clicking on TriMax ads in order to artificially increase TriMax’s costs (known as “click fraud”); and (4) using an automated software program to manipulate the Google auction system (known as “bid jamming”).

TriMax presented evidence to the jury that Wickfire had been suspended from over 200 Google accounts, violated merchant terms, and employed fake user agents and proxies to conceal its identity. The jury also saw evidence that Google referred to Wickfire as “Known Fraudsters” and that Wickfire registered the domain name “GoogleClickFraud.com”.

TriMax also presented evidence regarding Wickfire’s destruction of evidence. TriMax learned that during the litigation, Wickfire wiped all the data from its Chief Technology Officer Jon Brown’s laptop and then failed to disclose that information to TriMax or the court. Once TriMax uncovered the destruction, Wickfire claimed it was necessary, since the laptop had been stolen during a home burglary. However, the police report—which TriMax obtained independently after Wickfire failed to produce a copy—contradicted Wickfire’s story because it mentioned nothing about an allegedly stolen laptop.

While the jury heard extensive evidence about Wickfire’s conduct comprising Wickfire’s intentional interference against TriMax (which the jury found to have occurred), some of the most devastating evidence was excluded. For example, the jury was not permitted to see:

  • The police report from the burglary;
  • Registration documents showing Wickfire as the owner of “BitchesOfFacebook.com” and “PokeBitches.com”;
  • An e-mail from a merchant representative who, after refusing to accept the alleged kickbacks, referred to Wickfire as “criminals”;
  • Screenshots of Wickfire’s ads impersonating TriMax’s;
  • An e-mail from a merchant terminating TriMax after wrongly believing TriMax was the source of the impersonating ads;
  • An e-mail from a merchant complaining that Wickfire violated trademark terms and plagiarized TriMax’s ads;
  • A lengthy technical report that, according to a world-renowned computer expert, proves conclusively that Wickfire committed extensive click fraud against TriMax;
  • A real-time video demonstrating the bid-jamming TriMax experienced;
  • A summary of hundreds of TriMax’s merchant contracts interfered with by bid-jamming; and
  • E-mails from other competitors of Wickfire complaining about Wickfire’s bidding tactics.

Despite the jury’s finding against Wickfire, Chet Hall and Jon Brown for intentional interference with TriMax’s business, no damages against Wickfire were awarded. The Appellate Court’s ruling, however, did not disturb the jury’s finding that Wickfire, Hall, and Brown committed the intentional interference in the first place.

The Appellate Court’s ruling was comprised of a 21-page opinion, unanimously decided by three Circuit Judges and authored by Chief Judge Priscilla Owen of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Representing TriMax were attorneys Sidney K. Powell of the law firm of Sidney Powell PC and Barry M. Golden of the law firm of Egan Nelson LLP.

  • Ms. Powell was formerly an Assistant United States Attorney and is author of the groundbreaking book Licensed to Lie, an exposé on unethical attorney conduct and improper concealment of evidence. Ms. Powell is known most recently for representing General Michael Flynn, filing third-party election lawsuits, and launching a Super PAC dedicated to a range of aims, including freedom of speech, Constitutional rights, and the right of free and fair elections.

  • Mr. Golden is a litigator and the Co-Chair of Egan Nelson’s Commercial Litigation Group. Throughout his 23-year career spanning four decades, Mr. Golden has regularly handled high-stakes litigation, often including bet-the-company matters.

TriMax’s CEO, Laura Woodruff, commented: “After so many years of litigation, TriMax has received complete exoneration. We are thrilled but certainly unsurprised by the outcome. We only hope this ruling will prevent Wickfire from bringing any more baseless claims against a legitimate competitor. We do, however, remain disappointed that Google and the Networks allowed Wickfire to intentionally interfere with our business in the first place. Nevertheless, based on the jury’s finding that Wickfire interfered with TriMax’s business—a finding that was not reversed—we now hope tactics like kickbacks, impersonation of competitors, click fraud, and bid jamming will no longer be tolerated in the online-advertising industry.”

About TriMax Media:

Founded in 2003, TriMax Media is a digital marketing agency specializing in performance-based search engine marketing. TriMax served on the first Google Advertiser Research Council and was one of the first companies to generate over one million leads for its clients utilizing Google AdWords. The agency focuses on creating highly effective search marketing campaigns and developing successful long-term relationships with its clients.

Company Contact:
For questions, please contact:
Barry M. Golden
Egan Nelson LLP
214.893.9034
barry.golden@egannelson.com


About GlobeNewswire

GlobeNewswire
GlobeNewswire
One Liberty Plaza - 165 Broadway
NY 10006 New York

https://globenewswire.com

GlobeNewswire is one of the world's largest newswire distribution networks, specializing in the delivery of corporate press releases financial disclosures and multimedia content to the media, investment community, individual investors and the general public.

Subscribe to releases from GlobeNewswire

Subscribe to all the latest releases from GlobeNewswire by registering your e-mail address below. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Latest releases from GlobeNewswire

NetJets Shares First Biannual Global Sustainability Program Progress Update15.4.2021 16:09:19 CEST | Press release

The World's Largest Private Aviation Company Furthers Its Commitment to Sustainable Aviation COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NetJets, the leader in private aviation with more than 760 aircraft worldwide, today releases its first biannual update following the launch of its expanded Global Sustainability Program in October 2020. Since the program announcement, NetJets has taken its commitment to sustainability a step further, acquiring a stake in WasteFuel®, a next generation waste-to-fuel business that transforms landfill waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). NetJets will also purchase 100 million gallons of SAF over the next decade. This represents one of the largest SAF offtakes in the aviation industry and by far the largest in private aviation. In addition to sustainable fuel, NetJets’ initiative focuses on consumer and corporate carbon offsetting. This includes offsetting NetJets’ administrative and training flights, as well as its two corporate offices in

Rovio Entertainment's new team-based RPG Darkfire Heroes releases worldwide today on iOS and Android15.4.2021 15:00:00 CEST | Press release

Rovio’s new team-based RPG Darkfire Heroes releases worldwide today on iOS and Android Espoo, Finland – 15 April 2021 – Build a powerful party of heroes and embark on an adventure for the ages in Rovio Entertainment’s newest game, Darkfire Heroes. The game is available to download for free now worldwide on the App Store and Google Play after a successful soft launch period in select regions. Darkfire Heroes is a strategic team-based RPG set in a rich fantasy world. Players must assemble a powerful team of heroes to take on hordes of baddies. There is a collection of over 60 heroes at launch, each with their own unique style, abilities, and attacks. Choose the right heroes to take into battle, outfit them with powerful gear, and unleash powerful spells against enemies. There’s a substantial campaign for those looking for a single-player experience, but also a PvP arena for players that crave a bit of competition. A new IP in Rovio’s game portfolio, Darkfire Heroes is the first release f

Mid-Hudson Co-Operative Insurance Company Selects Verisk’s Sequel to Deploy Integrated Underwriting and Claims Solutions Following Migration to ISO Electronic Rating Content15.4.2021 14:00:00 CEST | Press release

JERSEY CITY, N.J., April 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mid-Hudson Co-Operative Insurance Company (MHC) has selected Verisk’s Sequel to provide underwriting and claims solutions to underpin migration to ISO Electronic Rating Content™ (ERC) for rating support. New York-based MHC is a member of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and provides personal, commercial and farm insurance via New York state agency Statewide Underwriting Services. Verisk’s ISO ERC solution helps insurers stay current and implement the necessary updates ISO makes to its advisory loss costs, rules and forms for a range of insurance classes and reduces the time and effort required to analyze regular ISO updates, eliminating tedious work and quickening ratings workflows. Eddie Harper President and CEO of Statewide Underwriting Services said of the agreement, “We were impressed by both the Sequel technology and expertise and the fact that Sequel is a Verisk solution was an important component in our

COVIS PHARMA GROUP Announces Top-line Safety and Efficacy Data from a Phase 3 Placebo-Controlled COVID-19 Study Using Inhaled Corticosteroid (ciclesonide)15.4.2021 13:00:00 CEST | Press release

ZUG, Switzerland, April 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Covis Pharma Group (the “Company”), a global specialty pharmaceutical company that markets therapeutic solutions for patients with life-threatening conditions and chronic illnesses, announced today top-line results from a 400 patient phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the safety and efficacy of ciclesonide metered-dose inhaler in non-hospitalized patients 12 years of age and older with symptomatic COVID-19 infection. The primary endpoint of the study was time to alleviation of COVID-19-related symptoms of cough, dyspnea, chills, feeling feverish, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell, defined as symptom-free for a continuous period of ≥ 24 hours by Day 30. A sub-group analysis showed that time to alleviation of cough was the most improved symptom in the ciclesonide arm compared to the placebo arm by 6 days in 75% of the populati

Talenom strengthens its business in the financial management of associations by acquiring Balance-Team Oy and raises its net sales guidance15.4.2021 12:30:00 CEST | Press release

Talenom Plc Inside information 15 April 2021 at 13:30 EEST Talenom strengthens its business in the financial management of associations by acquiring Balance-Team Oy and raises its net sales guidance Talenom Plc has acquired the Helsinki-based Balance-Team Oy, which specialises in financial management for associations. Talenom already has a business unit focused on associations and foundations, which, with the acquisition of Balance-Team Oy will make Talenom a leading provider of financial management services for nonprofit organisations in Finland. The share capital of Balance-Team Oy will be transferred to Talenom on 15 April 2021. The acquired company was formed on 1 April 2021 in a demerger in which non-accounting activities and assets were separated from the company. Net sales of the transferred accounting business for the financial year ended 31 December 2020 were 2.7 million euros (31 December 2019: 2.8 million euros) and EBITDA was 1.0 million euros (31 December 2019: 1.0 million

$125M Growth Round Fuels Keyfactor and PrimeKey Merger to Bring Machine Identity Management to the Mainstream15.4.2021 12:00:00 CEST | Press release

First-Ever Merger Between Certificate Automation and Certificate Authority Providers Set to Impact IAM Strategy for Enterprises CLEVELAND and STOCKHOLM, Sweden, April 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Keyfactor® and PrimeKey® today announced their intent to merge under the Keyfactor brand while committing to increased investments across all product lines. Keyfactor is the pioneer of PKI as-a-Service, and the recognized leader in certificate lifecycle automation and crypto-agility solutions. PrimeKey’s EJBCA® software offers the most powerful and flexible certificate authority (CA) supporting DevOps, IoT, manufacturing and enterprise use cases. The merger forms an industry-first machine identity management platform, combining Keyfactor’s certificate lifecycle automation with PrimeKey’s EJBCA. The new platform will provide end-to-end machine identity management – with flexible and highly scalable certificate issuance and automated deployment of machine identities across complex enterprise and

$125M i nya investeringar boostar Keyfactor och PrimeKeys fusion och mission att leverera komplett hantering av digitala identiteter15.4.2021 12:00:00 CEST | Pressemelding

Den första sammanslagningen som kombinerar certifikatshantering med -utgivning siktar på att gemensamt göra global skillnad för företags IAM-strategier CLEVELAND och STOCKHOLM, Sverige, April 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Keyfactor® och PrimeKey® tillkännager sin avsikt att gå samman till en företag under namnet Keyfactor, med ökade investeringar i samtliga produktlinjer. Keyfactor är pionjär inom Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) as-a-Service, och ledande inom livscykelautomatisering för digitala certifikat och lösningar inom kryptoagilitet. PrimeKeys EJBCA® är den mest kraftfulla och samtidigt mest flexibla mjukvaran inom certifikatsutgivning, så kallad Certificate Authority (CA), för DevOps, IoT, industrier samt företag. Sammanslagningen innebär marknadens första identitetshanteringsplattform för digitala identiteter och kombinerar Keyfactors livscykelautomatisering med PrimeKeys EJBCA. Den nya plattformen kommer att erbjuda en helhetslösning för hantering av digitala identiteter, med