LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On November 21, 2019, Judge Sunil R. Kulkarni of the California Superior Court, Santa Clara County, denied Trend Micro’s attempt to have Luminati’s case against Trend Micro dismissed.
Luminati brought this case in May 2019 to recover from harm it suffered as a result of Trend Micro’s false and misleading December 2018 Report about Luminati. Luminati alleges that the Report is a transparent effort to increase Trend Micro’s product sales by purportedly uncovering a cybersecurity “threat” that does not actually exist.
Trend Micro tried to dismiss Luminati’s complaint by claiming that the Report just contained Trend Micro’s “opinions” and that its statements relate to cybersecurity, a matter of “public concern,” and thus deserved to be protected under California law.
Luminati vigorously opposed both of those arguments.
The court ruled in favor of Luminati by not dismissing its case. More specifically, the court found that Trend Micro’s Report is not entitled to special protection because it is essentially a product review by a for-profit company—not a discussion about public cybersecurity issues. The court also noted that it is “not required to close its eyes to” the fact that “Trend Micro sells products that combat the supposed problems” Trend Micro claims to have identified in the disputed Report. The court further found that a reasonable reader would not understand the Trend Micro statements that Luminati identified as false to be only “opinions” and not facts. Indeed, the court identified four statements that “lack any cautionary or conditional language” and also noted that even statements framed as opinions can imply false facts.
Luminati CEO, Or Lenchner made the following statement following the ruling:
“We welcome the decision from Judge Sunil R. Kulkarni and look forward to working further to combat the false accusations made against Luminati. The court recognized that the Trend Micro Report includes numerous accusations that were presented as facts and without any cautionary or conditional language. It was noted that this is continuing to have a detrimental effect on our business operations.
To date, Luminati has not changed its position on the accusations made. The Report ignores readily available information about Luminati's security practices, as well as its efforts to minimize illegitimate activity and maintain transparency and openness on its proxy network.
Despite numerous attempts by Luminati, Trend Micro has refused to address the inaccuracies in its Report. Therefore, we are left with no choice but to further proceed with the legal action.”
Founded in 2014, Luminati is the world’s largest proxy operator aimed at bringing complete transparency back to the internet. The company’s first-of-its-kind enterprise IP proxy network enables over 10,000 businesses to level the global competitive landscape by collecting online data that may otherwise mislead them, or they may be blocked from accessing.