NetZero Suit Sends Juno Lower

Juno Online Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JWEB) closed down 1/4 at 11/16 Wednesday after NetZero filed suit against the New York-based Internet accessprovider, alleging patent infringement.

According to published reports, NetZero says Juno infringed on a patent ithas on a kind of pop-up advertising that is displayed to users of NetZero’sfree Internet access service.

“Juno denies that it is infringing any valid claim of any NetZero patent,”said president and chief executive officer Charles Ardai. “On the contrary,we believe that NetZero has been infringing a key patent held by Juno, inconnection with which Juno filed a lawsuit against NetZero in June of thisyear.”

“We look forward to seeing both our suit against NetZero and this new suitbrought by NetZero resolved through the appropriate legal process,” Junosaid.

Juno, with 3.7 million subscribers, says it is the third-largest provider ofdial-up Internet services, after America Online and EarthLink. Inaddition to its free service, the company provides billable online accessand, in some markets, high-speed broadband services.

Juno shares have plunged from a 52-week high of 52, amid a weak Internetadvertising market and investor nervousness about Internet-related stocks.

Juno reported third-quarter revenue of US$30.1 million, up 130 percent from ayear earlier, as its net loss narrowed from the second quarter. Revenue fromfree Internet services, however, slipped because of sagging demand foronline advertising. The company said it expects the trend to continuethrough the current quarter.

On December 24th, the company said its chief financial officer, Rick Eaton,will leave in the first quarter after completing the company’s 2000financial statements.

NetZero rose 1/32 to 25/32 Wednesday.

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