Federal Judge Rules Against Embark.com; Misrepresentations Regarding Commercial Use of Student Data Top List of Expanded Claims Filed by CollegeNET

Apr 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from CollegeNET, Inc.

    PORTLAND, Ore., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 4, 2001, United States
 District Court Judge Robert E. Jones in Portland, Oregon, rejected efforts by
 a San Francisco company, Embark.com, to dismiss claims made by CollegeNET,
 Inc. of Portland.  The Court's ruling clears the way for CollegeNET to file an
 Amended Complaint based upon additional information it has learned since
 filing the lawsuit last July.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990810/NYFNSP04 )
     According to CollegeNET's Amended Complaint filed today in federal court
 in Portland, Embark.com has violated the Lanham Act and competed unfairly by
 misrepresenting to customers the manner in which Embark.com does business.
 The Amended Complaint alleges, for example, that Embark tells some higher
 education customers that applicants who apply for admission online through the
 customer's own website will not be subject to recruitment from other schools
 or marketing from commercial businesses.  In reality, according to the Amended
 Complaint, Embark infringes upon student privacy by directly marketing to
 these applicants with follow-up email, without the college's knowledge,
 inviting the student to consent to being recruited by other schools and
 requesting consent for students to receive promotional offers on behalf of
 Embark "alliances" or "partners."
     The Amended Complaint further charges that Embark regularly overstates its
 customer base, rates of growth and market penetration.  For example, Embark
 claims to have 600 "prestigious universities" as customers.  According to the
 Amended Complaint, that figure is grossly bloated because it includes many
 campuses of the same organizations, and includes unaccredited institutions,
 non-educational programs, technical schools and programs with no degrees at
 all.
     Other new allegations include a claim that Embark falsely claims that
 students can apply online through Embark to the 114 affiliated colleges of the
 National Catholic College Admission Association.  In fact, according to the
 Amended Complaint, only nine of these schools accept online applications
 through Embark.com, while 21 accept online applications through CollegeNET.
     Margo Pardee, Vice President of Corporate Communications at CollegeNET
 stated:  "Embark's conduct appears to be more egregious than we initially
 suspected.  We strongly believe that education should be a clean marketplace
 where the sanctity of the admissions process is respected by the vendors who
 serve institutions and applicants.  Embark should be held accountable for its
 unfair tactics."
     CollegeNET's Amended Complaint seeks an injunction and monetary damages
 "in an amount in excess of $10 million, plus punitive damages in the amount of
 $30 million.  CollegeNET is being represented by David B. Markowitz, and
 Jeffrey M. Edelson, Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf, P.C. of Portland,
 Oregon.
 
     About CollegeNET, Inc.
     CollegeNET, Inc. (corp.collegenet.com) is a leading provider of Internet
 forms commerce service to the education and non-profit sector.  CollegeNET
 served forms create workflow savings for end-users and institutions by
 eliminating the costs, delays, and mistakes associated with paper-based forms
 processing.  Forms transparently served by CollegeNET include admissions
 applications, financial aid applications, alumni registration, housing,
 contribution, and financial aid forms.  CollegeNET, Inc. serves over 500
 client institutions including Virginia Tech, M.I.T., Georgia Tech, University
 of Washington, and University of Nebraska.  The Company is headquartered in
 Portland, Oregon.
 
 

SOURCE CollegeNET, Inc.
    PORTLAND, Ore., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- On April 4, 2001, United States
 District Court Judge Robert E. Jones in Portland, Oregon, rejected efforts by
 a San Francisco company, Embark.com, to dismiss claims made by CollegeNET,
 Inc. of Portland.  The Court's ruling clears the way for CollegeNET to file an
 Amended Complaint based upon additional information it has learned since
 filing the lawsuit last July.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990810/NYFNSP04 )
     According to CollegeNET's Amended Complaint filed today in federal court
 in Portland, Embark.com has violated the Lanham Act and competed unfairly by
 misrepresenting to customers the manner in which Embark.com does business.
 The Amended Complaint alleges, for example, that Embark tells some higher
 education customers that applicants who apply for admission online through the
 customer's own website will not be subject to recruitment from other schools
 or marketing from commercial businesses.  In reality, according to the Amended
 Complaint, Embark infringes upon student privacy by directly marketing to
 these applicants with follow-up email, without the college's knowledge,
 inviting the student to consent to being recruited by other schools and
 requesting consent for students to receive promotional offers on behalf of
 Embark "alliances" or "partners."
     The Amended Complaint further charges that Embark regularly overstates its
 customer base, rates of growth and market penetration.  For example, Embark
 claims to have 600 "prestigious universities" as customers.  According to the
 Amended Complaint, that figure is grossly bloated because it includes many
 campuses of the same organizations, and includes unaccredited institutions,
 non-educational programs, technical schools and programs with no degrees at
 all.
     Other new allegations include a claim that Embark falsely claims that
 students can apply online through Embark to the 114 affiliated colleges of the
 National Catholic College Admission Association.  In fact, according to the
 Amended Complaint, only nine of these schools accept online applications
 through Embark.com, while 21 accept online applications through CollegeNET.
     Margo Pardee, Vice President of Corporate Communications at CollegeNET
 stated:  "Embark's conduct appears to be more egregious than we initially
 suspected.  We strongly believe that education should be a clean marketplace
 where the sanctity of the admissions process is respected by the vendors who
 serve institutions and applicants.  Embark should be held accountable for its
 unfair tactics."
     CollegeNET's Amended Complaint seeks an injunction and monetary damages
 "in an amount in excess of $10 million, plus punitive damages in the amount of
 $30 million.  CollegeNET is being represented by David B. Markowitz, and
 Jeffrey M. Edelson, Markowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf, P.C. of Portland,
 Oregon.
 
     About CollegeNET, Inc.
     CollegeNET, Inc. (corp.collegenet.com) is a leading provider of Internet
 forms commerce service to the education and non-profit sector.  CollegeNET
 served forms create workflow savings for end-users and institutions by
 eliminating the costs, delays, and mistakes associated with paper-based forms
 processing.  Forms transparently served by CollegeNET include admissions
 applications, financial aid applications, alumni registration, housing,
 contribution, and financial aid forms.  CollegeNET, Inc. serves over 500
 client institutions including Virginia Tech, M.I.T., Georgia Tech, University
 of Washington, and University of Nebraska.  The Company is headquartered in
 Portland, Oregon.
 
 SOURCE  CollegeNET, Inc.