finds some customers use same ID and password on both a competitor's and their Web sites

Incident Date: 1999
Incident Location: ID USA

On October 15, 2004 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Seattle, Washington rendered its verdict in the case against for unauthorized access to a competitorís Web site. completed with (run by a company named Creative Computing) as an online source of shipping contracts for long-distance truckers. Truckers would visit the Web sites to search for opportunities to haul additional freight in their vicinity.

Some customers would use both and to look for shipping business. In the late 1990ís company officers at correctly guessed that customers might use the same user ID and password at both Web sites. Using one of their own customerís credentials, president Patrick Hull was able to illegally access the same customerís account at and retrieve competitive information.

Mr. Hull along with company vice president Ken Hammond used this approach and several others to find shipping opportunities, copy client contact information, as well as steal source code to the shipping application.

Creative Computing sued in district court for copyright infringement, Lanham Act violations, and misappropriations of trade secrets under the Idaho Trade Secrets Act. Subsequently, Creating Computing amended its complaint to add claims for damages under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. They also sought, and were granted, a temporary restraining order against accessing or marketing to their clients.

In the initial trial, a jury rendered guilty verdicts on the counts of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Idaho Trade Secrets Act. appealed the decision but lost most of their arguments. Total damages and legal expenses in excess of $950,000 were awarded to Creating Computing.

Story Sources

Title: Creative Computing, dba Internet v. LLC and/or Codified Corporation
Author: United States Count of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
Date: 10/15/2004
No. 02-35856 D.C. No. CV-00-00476-BLW
Publication Location: Seattle WA USA
Publication URL:

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