According to a report from the publishing industry’s Publishers Lunch, as Borders prepares to auction off what it hopes will prove to be valuable intellectual property, including its Borders Rewards customer data, the company has gone to court to protect those assets from infringement by a former Borders vendor.
The company hired Next Jump in 2007 to operate Bordersrewardperks.com–a website to provide rewards from third-party vendors to Borders customers. The complaint filed in New York bankruptcy court charges Next Jump has used its access to the book chain’s customer list to steer half a million people or more to a separate website, OO.com, owned by Next Jump.
Significantly given the upcoming auction, Borders says “at least five potential bidders” became aware of Next Jump’s conduct, and at least one of them told Borders it may lower its valuation of the assets as a result of Next Jump’s actions. Border’s complaint charges that Next Jump is “causing irreparable harm to [Borders’] estates and creditors at a crucial point in these chapter 11 cases.” Judge Martin Glenn will consider Borders’ request for a temporary restraining order.
Borders says they “explicitly told Next Jump to stop emailing Borders’ customers, and terminated the agreement.” They state their contract required customer data be returned to Borders and purged from Next Jump’s systems upon such termination. Instead Borders customers received emails from Next Jump in July and August, telling them that “Borders’ Rewards Perks is now OO.com.” Fruther, “according to representations made to Borders by Next Jump, hundreds of thousands of Borders’ customers signed up with OO.com as a result” of a July e-mail alone.
Borders said on August 30 the vendor “informed them that Next Jump believes that they have the right to retain information relating to approximately 500,000 of Borders’ customers who allegedly ‘converted’ to OO.com in response to Next Jump’s unauthorized solicitation of persons on the BRP Customer List,” per the complaint. However, Borders claims “information was obtained in violation of the…agreement, and is therefore the property of Borders.” To muddy the waters further, Borders claims Next Jump continues to use Borders’ trademarks without authorization and continues to run the bordersrewardsperks.com website.
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For more information about Morgan St. James, visit www.morganstjames-author.com website or the Silver Sisters Mysteries website. Morgan frequently speaks and gives workshops for published and aspiring writers at conferences and events. Her next appearance will be at Partners in Crime, Sydney, Australia on September 11. Information on her website.
Because of the popularity of Writers’ Tricks of the Trade, she has recently added a blog, newsletter and the just-released Writers’ Tricks of the Trade: 39 Things You Need to Know About the ABCs of Writing Fiction book., available in paperback, eBook and Kindle. The hilarious third Silver Sisters Mystery, Vanishing Act in Vegas, was also released in August.
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