Lenovo Lawyers Fight Suits Over Security Glitch

Lenovo Lawyers Fight Suits Over Security Glitch

SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys for Chinese laptop maker Lenovo Group Ltd. have taken their first shot at stamping out litigation claiming that software pre-installed on its notebook computers left customers vulnerable to cyberattacks.

In court papers filed Thursday, the company’s lawyers at K&L Gates maintain that Lenovo acted quickly to address the security glitch created by adware that came installed on certain Lenovo models. K&L Gates partner Daniel Stephenson wrote that no customers were actually hacked as a result of the problem and the plaintiffs have suffered no harm.

“In cases where a hacking has not occurred, standing is not established,” Stephenson wrote.

Lenovo was hit with a wave of lawsuits across the country last year after online reports in February identified security vulnerabilities on laptops that came equipped with adware developed by Bay Area firm Superfish Inc. Multidistrict litigation targeting both Lenovo and Superfish was consolidated before U.S District Judge Ronald Whyte of the Northern District of California in June. Superfish, which has yet to file its own motion to dismiss, is represented by Fenwick & West.

In the motion filed Thursday, Stephenson wrote that the federal and state wiretapping laws plaintiffs invoked don’t fit Lenovo’s situation since the company never intercepted communications or received users’ personal data. “Lenovo is not liable for anything that Superfish did,” he wrote. Although the Superfish program might have taken up memory and slowed browsing speeds, Stephenson wrote that the effect was “temporary and immaterial.”

“Lenovo made no unmet representations about product performance,” he wrote. “No specific upload/download speed was ‘part of the bargain’ between plaintiffs and Lenovo.”

With the plaintiffs’ latest amended complaint coming after the production of more than 100,000 pages of discovery, Stephenson is asking Whyte to dismiss the suit with prejudice.

Co-lead plaintiffs counsel at Pritzker Levine; Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy; and Girard Gibbs are set to respond to Lenovo’s motion next month. A hearing before Whyte on the matter is set for March 11.

Contact the reporter at rtodd@alm.com.

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