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Utility Litigation Monthly Watchdog Report

Stay Informed and Alert!

eComp Consultants initiates the distribution of a monthly litigation alert bulletin to utility company executives and legal counsel within the energy sector of the utility industry. The bulletin, entitled Utility Litigation Alert, provides timely information on litigation activity occurring throughout the industry involving intellectual property associated with technology relating to smart grid initiatives and web-based customer interactions. It also serves as early warning as to potential risks of such litigation causing negative impacts to project initiatives.

See our Consulting Service page to learn about eComp’s Risk Assessment service which describes proactive ways to make sure your company is not infringing others’ IP rights, and to potentially avoid a lawsuit.

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eComp Consultants provided eCommerce expertise to drive favorable judgment in Duick v Toyota Motor Sales and Saatchi & Saatchi web contract dispute litigation.

eComp Consultants Virginia Lee was retained by Toyota Motor Sales in conjunction with Saatchi & Saatchi facing $10M damages from a dispute with web-based Toyota Matrix advertising campaign. Virginia Lee of eComp Consultants testified on behalf of Toyota and Saatchi & Saatchi regarding the usability of the interactive website used as a promotional entertainment tool. Virginia’s compelling testimony led to a favorable decision for Toyota/Saatchi & Saatchi enabling them to pursue further the case levied against them.

The plaintiff, Duick, claimed the website promoting the Toyota Matrix was designed in such a way that it was confusing, illegible and could not be read. This led the plaintiff to establish a contract on the website which included a clause requiring arbitration of any disputes relating to the website or the vendor associated with the website. The plaintiff was seeking damages outside of the arbitration clause that the plaintiff claimed could not be read when the contract was displayed.

Ms. Lee was certified by the court as an expert in web user interface design and usability best practices. She was able to provide the court with hands on demonstrations of the use and readability of the website in question as well as comparing and contrasting with other commercial websites through a variety of browsers and browser configurations. Ms. Lee also testified on standard practices regarding the design and display of terms and conditions content on websites as well as the common configurations and operation of screen elements, such as buttons, scrollbars, and checkboxes. Ms. Lee also provided professional opinions on the level of testing and usability for these types of applications in general with regard to the target audience.

Vince Verde of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. commented that they were very pleased with the decision and with Ms. Lee’s contribution to their case.

eComp Consultants is pleased to have delivered a favorable outcome for Toyota/Saatchi & Saatchi enabling the defendants to further pursue arbitration of this matter. If you would like more information about our services and how we can support your litigation efforts, please contact Norm Tanguay at 813-447-1014.