Microsoft, Pfizer Sue Viagra Spammers

 
 
By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2005-02-10 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Federal and state suits target online pharmacies pushing generic versions of Viagra and the spammers who promote their Web sites.

Microsoft Corp. and Pfizer Inc. on Thursday announced parallel lawsuits against two international spam rings pushing a variety of drugs, especially those purporting to be generic versions of Pfizers Viagra product. The two companies filed a total of 17 lawsuits in courts in New York and Washington state.

According to the companies, Pfizer filed civil actions against CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct, alleging trademark infringement, "unfair competition under both federal and state law, as well as deceptive trade practices in violation of New York state law." They also allege that the companies are selling non-FDA approved sildenafil citrate, the chemical name for Viagra, in violation of U.S. law.
Pfizer also filed 10 actions against Web sites whose names violate the companys Viagra trademark.
Microsofts legal actions were against two spamming groups that promote CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. The software giant also filed three additional suits against spammers promoting three other online pharmacies. The suits were brought under the federal CAN-SPAM act and various state laws.

The defendants are listed as John Doe because the individuals controlling the online pharmacies and spamming groups are unknown. The plaintiffs plan to obtain the names of the controlling individuals through discovery from ISPs and other intermediaries. According to the companies, an investigation found that many of the dozens of Web sites that promote CanadianPharmacy are registered to uninvolved third parties who were unaware that their identities were being used to hide the true operators of the Web site.

Click here to read about more Microsoft lawsuits against spammers. The actual product fulfillment involves an international organization. The customer, following links in spam messages, visits Web sites on computers in New York. The orders are forwarded to a call center in Canada and then to India. From there, the drugs are shipped to the United States by a U.S.-based air freight company.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
 
 
 
 
Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel