Only days after it successfully sued a Melbourne-based distribution company for importing and selling pirate software, Microsoft has again gone on the offensive against software piracy with two simultaneous raids on a NSW reseller chain. It is also in the process of launching an antipiracy hotline to allow people to dob in cheats.
The "successful raids", executed against Computer Express Holdings and Houman Salahifar, followed an application to the Federal Court of Australia to seek Anton Pillar Orders (civil search warrant) against the computer chain for infringement of Microsoft products. It is alleged that Computer Express Holdings was supplying counterfeit Microsoft Windows 95 software.
Raid teams, including solicitors and technicians, conducted searches at the reseller's three Sydney premises at Turramurra, Mona Vale and Croydon Park.
Justice Burchett made interim orders restraining Computer Express Holdings from infringing Microsoft's copyright and trademarks. Microsoft is now seeking injunctive relief, damages and legal costs and will be back in court on May 1, 1998.
This latest action follows hot on the heels of another case where the Federal Court ruled that local distributor KT Technology was guilty of breaching Microsoft's copyright by importing and selling unauthorised Microsoft software.
Previous ARN reports have also detailed successful Microsoft priacy suits against other local resellers.
These include actions against Z-Tek Computer (ARN March 18, pg 5), and two undisclosed New Zealand resellers (ARN April 8, pg12).
In a statement released last week, Ron Eckstrom, Microsoft's corporate attorney for the South Asia-Pacific Region warned the computer reseller and distributor community that Microsoft is serious about protecting its intellectual property rights in order to encourage a level playing field in the market place.
"Any business involved in the trade of illegal and unauthorised software should recognise that Microsoft will go to great lengths to eradicate software piracy in the distribution and reseller channel. It is concerning to see businesses selling counterfeit software, especially in Australia," he said.
"We believe that unless decisive action is taken against dealers of illegal software they will con-tinue to sell counterfeit product in the retail market, making it difficult for local developers and dealers of genuine software to complete."
Microsoft is set to launch antipiracy reward campaigns nationwide, focusing on piracy in the business place.
"The Campaign essentially rewards callers to our Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline (1800 639 963) for information leading to a successful legal action," Eckstrom said.