Epic Cash’s Calif. Suit Against Zango, AdultFriendFinder Gets Underway

Epic Cash’s Calif. Suit Against Zango, AdultFriendFinder Gets Underway
Rhett Pardon
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Epic Cash’s battle against Zango and AdultFriendFinder has shifted to the Bay Area after a federal judge in Seattle dismissed claims brought on by Zango, which filed a countersuit.

In recent days, Adult FriendFinder has filed a demurrer at Santa Clara Superior Court, challenging the legal sufficiency of Epic Cash’s lawsuit.

Affiliate program Epic Cash has charged unfair business practices, claiming the online advertising company’s “wrongful display” of pop-ups and other advertisements “blocked content on [Epic Cash’s] websites for the purpose of promoting Zango’s clients, who offered services directly competitive to [Epic Cash’s],” according to court documents.

Epic Cash claims that once a computer is infected with Zango adware, the Zango Search Assistant monitors the user’s browser and collects keywords that are then used to trigger pop-up ads.

AdultFriendFinder, a competitor of Epic Cash’s EpicCams.com website, is accused of having used Zango’s services to have “diverted traffic away from Epic Cash sites and converted Epic Cash’s business to their benefit,” by “taking advantage of plaintiff’s marketing efforts,” presumably when potential consumers are inputting certain keywords or searching for specific sites, which subsequently leads to Zango pop-up ads.

Epic Cash attorney Gary Jay Kaufman of the Kaufman Law Group in Los Angeles said that Zango had attempted to keep the litigation in its hometown of Seattle, but the U.S. District Court saw through the tactic and dismissed the transparent forum-shopping attempt.

In a stinging rebuke, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said that Zango’s complaint was so broad that it would have amounted to an attempt to pre-empt all of Epic’s claims in the California action.

“Clearly Zango and AdultFriendFinder are pulling out all the stops to prevent what we feel will be a large damage award in Epic Cash’s favor,” Kaufman told XBIZ.

Zango spokesman Steve Stratz told XBIZ that “Epic Cash's case is baseless and its claims are without merit.”

“Our position has not changed,” he said.

Epic Cash has asked for $750,000 in damages in the case filed at Santa Clara Superior Court.