On Friday, Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero of the Northern District of California issued an order granting plaintiff Facebook’s motion to dismiss defendant BrandTotal Ltd. and Unimania’s (collectively, BrandTotal) counterclaims in a case concerning browser extensions that conducted unauthorized data collection.
Facebook originally sued the defendants in October for breach of contract over the malicious browser extensions. Specifically, Facebook claimed that the defendants collected data through the browser extensions, which the defendants purportedly then used to market and sell their services. Facebook contended that the defendants’ conduct violated its terms, and noted that it took various enforcement measures, including disabling the defendants’ accounts.
Specifically, BrandTotal averred that Facebook’s effort to “cut off BrandTotal’s access to Facebook products and block BrandTotal’s browser extensions from appearing in Google Chrome Web Store prevent BrandTotal from compiling advertising analytics for its customers, prevent BrandTotal from compiling advertising analytics for its customers, prevent BrandTotal’s users from logging in ‘to collect any rewards they have earned,’ and prevent BrandTotal from recruiting new participants.” In particular, BrandTotal proffered the following counterclaims: “(1) intentional interference with contract, based on contracts with its corporate customers”; “(2) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage”; “(3) unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent conduct in violation of the UCL”; and “(4) declaratory judgment that BrandTotal has not breached any contract with Facebook…” BrandTotal sought injunctive and compensatory relief.
The court agreed with Facebook’s assertions, for example, that “BrandTotal’s opposition brief does not address any of those contentions” in its counterclaim for declaratory judgment. In regards to the other counterclaims, the court found that the defendants did not allege “any particular motive by Facebook” in their interference counterclaims. The court also dismissed the UCL claims.
In sum, the court granted Facebook’s motion, and BrandTotal’s counterclaims were dismissed with leave to amend certain counterclaims, including the counterclaims for intentional interference with contract, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, and the “unlawful” and “unfair” prongs of the UCL.