Judge to stop Gator's bite during trial

The Gator Corp. has asked a U.S. District Court judge in Virginia for an expedited trial, as it tries to defend itself from a suit brought by seven major news organizations that claim Gator is diverting advertising revenue from them.

Judge Claude M. Hilton said last Friday that he plans to issue a preliminary injunction preventing Redwood City, Calif.-based Gator from displaying overlay ads until the trial has concluded, but he has not released the details. The Washington Post Co., Dow Jones & Co. Inc., Tribune Interactive, The New York Times Co., Knight-Ridder Inc., Advance Publications Inc. and Gannett Co. say Gator infringes on trademarks and copyright protection, engages in unfair competition and interferes with future business contracts.

Gator shows advertising to users who have downloaded its software as the users visit various Web sites. Many people don't know that the ads they're seeing were placed by Gator and have nothing to do with the Web site they're viewing. The suit claims that Gator displays ads that directly compete with services and products offered by the plaintiffs' Web sites.

The news organizations had asked the judge to stop Gator from displaying those ads until the case is resolved at trial.

Gator's President and CEO Jeff McFadden has defended his company, saying it is providing a service to consumers.

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