This case of interest addresses the use of an e-signature by clicking the “acknowledgment” button on an electronic agreement. In Apprio, Inc. v. Zaccari, No. 18-2180 JDB, 2022 WL 971001 (U.S. District D.D.C. March 31, 2022), the Court found that the defendant was bound by the Agreement that was electronically acknowledged (i.e., the Proprietary Information and Assignment of Inventions Agreement (PIIA)) provided by Plaintiff, and the Court granted Plaintiff a summary judgment.
Plaintiff’s Human Resources Department had the defendant use routine digital forms to be electronically signed upon the condition of employment. In this case, the defendant signed a specific document where the text and the context of the document made it demonstrably clear that the plaintiff intended all employees would agree to the PIIA by clicking the acknowledgement button at the bottom of the form. The defendant claimed he acknowledged the document by clicking the button, not agreeing to its contents. The court explained that by clicking the acknowledge button, this was equivalent to a signature, and the defendant carried out a process that is commonsensically associated with agreeing to its content and awarded summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff for breach of contract. (See copy of case below.) The issue of possibly electronically forming a contract will likely be litigated quite a bit in the next several years.
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APPRIO, INC., Plaintiff, v. NEIL ZACCARI, Defendant