SMD Software Inc., provider of SiteLink property-management software for self-storage and portable-storage operations, was awarded a $1.7 million judgment against competitor eMove Inc. in U.S. District Court in North Carolina. The jury found that some marketing collateral distributed by eMove, a U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network that offers the WebSelfStorage business platform, misled customers in a series of product comparisons with SiteLink.
In its lawsuit, SMD alleged that eMove published false advertising materials between 2004 and 2009 in violation of the federal Lanham Act and North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. SMD claimed it lost customers as a result.
The jury found that eMove inflated the price of SiteLink in its materials. It also falsely claimed the software did not support real-time confirmed reservations, fully integrate online-payment processing, or include fully integrated call-center service, credit-card processing and tenant insurance.
“This is a huge win for us,” Ross Lampe, president and CEO of SMD, said in a released statement. “SiteLink software offers everything eMove claimed we don’t offer and more, and at prices far below those they misrepresented.”
In a pretrial order, eMove said an employee had obtained the product information it used through research and by mystery shopping on two occasions. The employee claimed he confirmed the information with Lampe during a tradeshow and with an SMD salesperson by phone, according to a report by “The SpareFoot Storage Beat,” a self-storage industry blog.
SMD’s lawsuit originated in 2008. eMove filed suit against SMD in 2010, alleging SMD had made false statements against eMove products, but a federal judge dismissed the case in 2012, according to the SpareFoot blog.
SMD also filed a motion to recover legal fees, which was appealed by eMove. On April 7, a federal appellate court upheld the motion for eMove to pay nearly $934,000 in legal fees to SMD, the blog reported.