The lawsuit between Email on Acid and 250ok appeared to be nearing a settlement earlier this month, only for the deal to blow up -- at least temporarily.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegerty withdrew from the case going forward, following a settlement conference on September 7. After that meeting, “a dispute arose concerning whether a binding agreement was reached,” Hegerty wrote.
He added, “Given my involvement in conducting that Settlement Conference and in the interest of avoiding any appearance of impropriety, I find good cause to recuse myself from service in this matter.”
Hegerty directed the clerk of the court to reassign the case to another Magistrate Judge based on a random draw.
Filed in 2019, the suit concerns Email On Acid’s software-as-a-service that allows users to preview how emails will render in Gmail, Yahoo and other email platforms, and via mobile, desktop and the web.
Email On Acid alleges that after “licensing its technology and agreeing not to create a competing product, 250ok abused this access to create its own rip-off version of the product, marketed itself as a competitor to Email on Acid, and has attempted to poach Email on Acid’s customers.”
250ok has denied the charges, saying the contract between the two speaks for itself. The company says it “offered a suite of products that incorporated an email-rendering feature, of which Plaintiff was aware, both before and during the term of the License Agreement.”
A trial would have to determine if 250ok reverse-engineered and sold the technology against contract. and the degree if any of Validity's “successor liability.” Email on Acid is demanding any revenue that accrued.
Anyone trying to follow the case would have to keep up with corporate changes.
Validity acquired 250ok in 2020 and Pathwire purchased Email on Acid in 2021, and was itself bought by Sinch a few months later.
Both sides have declined to comment on the lawsuit in the past.
As for the stakes involved, one email expert says: “There’s only two real players out there and Litmus has done a good job in penetrating a lot of the ESP’s and EOA has the other chunk. But the revenue is tight. So add another player and you dilute the pool.”
The case is on file with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.