A US JUDGE has unceremoniously tossed out of court a ridiculous case against anti-malware software maker Malwarebytes, brought by the maker of software that doesn't exactly enjoy a stellar reputation.
Enigma Software had claimed that Malwarebytes' classification of its security software as "potentially unwanted programmes" amounted to a "tortious interference" in its business.
Enigma sells two arguably sub-par security applications, called SpyHunter and RegHunter, which the company charges around $80 per year for.
Users are invited to download the software to scan their PCs for free, and then asked to pay-up the not inconsiderable sum of cash to remove whatever the software claims to have found.
You could argue that this puts it in the bracket of 'mugware' rather than malware, especially as it doesn't even appear to be very good at what it purports to do.
One online reviewer, examining SpyHunter 4.0 on a PC he deliberately load up with malware, found that it only identified two of 234 malicious apps. "I'm surprised it's this crappy. This is really bad," he noted.
In response to its software being categorised as potentially unwanted programs, as opposed to just a crap and overpriced, Enigma filed suit against Malwarebytes.
However, after an unnecessarily long battle, the district court in Northern California sided with Malwarebytes, ruling that the company is entitled to immunity from Enigma's claims. It ordered a clerk to close the case earlier this week.
In the official complaint filed by Enigma, it whined that Malwarebytes "unlawfully characterized Enigma's software as harmful to users' computers".
But Malwarebytes argued that Enigma was tricking customers into purchasing its solutions by making "false claims" contrary to the immunity provisions set out by the Communications Decency Act, based on a past case between Zango Inc and Kaspersky.
Malwarebytes founder and CEO Marcin Kleczynski said: "This is a critical win, not only for Malwarebytes, but for all security providers who will continue to have legal protection to do what is right for their users."
Writing on the company's blog, Kleczynski added that the court's decision means it can continue to flag unwanted software. "This decision affirms our right to enable users by giving them a choice on what belongs on their machines and what doesn't.
"We continue to monitor all known software against Malwarebytes' PUP criteria to give our users the choice to select which programs you want to keep or remove from your computer.
"We strongly believe that you should be allowed to make this choice, and we will continue to defend your right to do so."
He said users should have the right to choose what software goes on their computers. "This company was founded on a real problem I experienced and a dream that everyone at Malwarebytes still affirms: that computer users have a right to choose what's on their computers.
"As PUPs became more prevalent and problematic, we began offering protection against them too, a choice that is now backed by the United States District Court."
Enigma no doubt targeted Malwarebytes, rather than a larger security software company, because at the time the case was launched Malwarebytes was a small organisation.
Kleczynski started Malwarebytes as a teenager after he contracted a virus on his own home PC, and decided to sort it out himself.
In recent years, Malwarebytes has cadged some venture capital and become a proper company. µ
Flagship will launch a day early to avoid being 'overshadowed' by Apple
EC says merged entity will 'continue to face significant competition'
Alexa, give me a reason to be cheerful about the UK economy
No, it isn't 1 April