ScanSafe Ltd has slapped an injunction on former business partner MessageLabs Ltd that prevents it passing off its “passing off” its new Web Security Services 2.0 as an upgrade of earlier services that were partly based on ScanSafe’s infrastructure.
The order prevents MessageLabs not to suggest that its service is still built on what Eldar Tuvey, CEO of ScanSafe, called ScanSafe’s tried and tested systems. MessageLabs can continue to sell its services as normal.
Tuvey said he had been compelled to take action, even though MessageLabs, which primarily sells managed email security services, is also a minority investor.
The new services MessageLabs is selling are based on new technology, and not the tried and tested systems that ScanSafe has so far been providing to some MessageLab customers, he said.
He said that he had sought legal advice to stop MessageLabs from marketing Web Security Services 2.0 in any way that builds on the reputation and brand of services the two companies already deliver jointly to about 300 to 400 customers.
The new services are based on a new build infrastructure and should be sold as such, Tuvey said. They should be seen as being Version 1.0 and in no way should be seen as upgraded services built on the proven technology that is powered by ScanSafe.
MessageLabs, in response, said that it had already publicly stated that the service is not built on top of ScanSafe’s systems.
The company said in an emailed statement: The UK court has ordered us to continue to focus on this messaging by using some of the language used in our launch press release in all of our sales efforts and we are more than happy to do so.
The statement added: The court has rightly allowed us to continue marketing and selling our service as MessageLabs Web Security Services 2.0 and to transfer those clients in common with ScanSafe to our version 2.0 within the framework of our contract with ScanSafe as we see fit.
MessageLabs announced in June that it would axe an agreement with ScanSafe under which the two companies jointly serve hosted web filtering to some managed message services clients.
This service relies on ScanSafe technology to redirect a company’s web traffic to a proxy server where it is scanned for spyware and viruses, as well as for prohibited URLs and file extensions, with only clean, approved traffic being forwarded to the customer.
ScanSafe has similar deals with MessageLabs’ chief rival Postini Inc, as well as Integralis and Star in the UK.
For its new managed service options, which were switched on in the first week of July, MessageLabs has developed its own proprietary web scanning architecture that integrates with its existing email and IM services.
When the new services were announced Brian Czarny, VP at the Gloucester, UK-based supplier confirmed to Computer Business Review that the service uses no ScanSafe software at all.
ScanSafe’s Tuvey maintains that this point has not always been made clear to MessageLabs’ clients and prospects.
He said that following a legal ruling, it has been made very clear to MessageLabs that the company needs change the marketing of its new service.
The situation is not pleasant Tuvey said. MessageLabs is a minority investor in the business, and Ben White, the CEO and cofounder of MessageLabs, is on the board of ScanSafe. He has been asked to leave the board.