Facebook Inc., the operator of the world’s largest social-networking site, won a 2008 lawsuit accusing Power Ventures Inc.’s Power.com of accessing and storing users’ login data without authorization.
The ruling yesterday by U.S. District Judge James Ware paves the way for hearings on damages for Facebook.
“The undisputed facts establish that defendants circumvented technical barriers” to access Facebook’s site, Ware wrote in a 19-page opinion issued without a trial.
Facebook sued Power Ventures in December 2008 in federal court in San Jose, California, saying Power.com offered users the ability to retrieve their Facebook messages and other information from Facebook’s computer servers without permission.
Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, accused Power.com of infringing its copyrights and trademarks and violating computer fraud and unfair competition laws. It sought a court order prohibiting further access and unspecific damages.
Power Ventures is based in the Cayman Islands, according to court papers. Power.com is up for sale on the Internet.
Facebook filed papers with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering on Feb. 1.
“We are pleased that the court ruled in our favor,” Craig Clark, lead litigation counsel for Facebook, said in an e-mailed statement. “We will continue to enforce our rights against bad actors who attempt to circumvent Facebook’s privacy and security protections and spam people.”
“Facebook has established a dangerous precedent for the future of users rights to own and control their data,” said Steven Vachani, chief executive officer of Power Ventures, in an e-mailed statement. “We intend to aggressively continue this fight.”
The case is Facebook Inc. v. Power Ventures Inc., 08CV5780, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).