Microsoft: Eight Lawsuits In Seven States
Yesterday, Microsoft announced the filing of eight lawsuits in seven different states aimed at punishing resellers of counterfeit software.
Microsoft filed the lawsuits in the states of California, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Alabama, Maryland and Rhode Island. The filings were made to combat copyright and trademark infringement made by a number software stores and resellers, which include:
Abacus Computer Corp., of Anaheim, Calif.; Avantek Inc., of Orlando, Fla.; First E-Commerce (dba Discount Electronics and/or DiscountElectronics.com), of Austin, Texas; M&S Computer Products Inc., of Boonton, N.J.; Micro Excell Inc., of Gadsden, Ala.; Odyssey Computers, of Pasadena, Md.; Signature PC, aka Signature Computers, of Warwick, R.I.; and Technology One, of Los Angeles.
The issue with these stores is that they were selling Microsoft software and related peripherals without the necessary Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels.
Another was thought to be selling COA labels separately from the software it came with. Doing so violates the federal Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 2003, which was signed into law by President Bush on Dec. 23, 2004.
Bonnie MacNaughton, senior attorney at Microsoft says, “There is only one purpose for distributing standalone COA labels: to falsely make infringing software appear legitimate. The federal law makes this deceptive practice now clearly illegal. It closes a perceived legal loophole and allows us to more effectively protect the channel and consumers who deserve to receive the genuine product they believe they are acquiring.”
Once its discovered resellers are in fact practicing any of these violations, Microsoft will send a cease and desist letter, warning the seller in question that they are aware of the reseller’s practices and that their actions are illegal. Evidently, defendants in each case continued their distribution of counterfeit materials even after Microsoft requesting that they halt their illegal activities.
Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) offers, “ACT commends Microsoft’s efforts to take legal action against purveyors of pirated and counterfeit software, along with its efforts to work together with channel partners to promote healthy industry competition and innovation.”