Reseller pays Microsoft $1.3m counterfeit damages

Reseller pays Microsoft $1.3m counterfeit damages

Microsoft has been awarded $1.3 million in damages from an Australian reseller for copyright and trademark infringement.

According to a statement from the software giant, the Australian Federal Court ruled against NSW-based PC Club - along with its associates David Lee, Mymy Lee and Kane Fang - and ordered the company to pay damages and costs resulting from the group's breaches of the Trade Practices Act.

Microsoft announced in November last year that it was seeking damages from PC Club for its use of pirated software.

Senior Corporate Attorney for Microsoft Australia, Vanessa Hutley, said it took legal action after a raid on PC Club's premises in Rhodes found pirated and illegal software with counterfeit Certificates of Authenticity (COA) pre-loaded onto PC systems.

The courts had rejected PC Club's argument that it was legitimate for system builders to license copies of Microsoft software by distributing it with a loose COA, she said. The case was finalised on October 28.

Hutley said she was confident the ruling would send out a clear signal to software pirates.

"We are pleased with this decision mainly because what the court says supports our channel," she said. "Legitimate business people should not have to compete with people who are undertaking these sorts of practises."

Hutley said Microsoft continued to work with its business partners to educate them on licensing product, but there were unfortunately still those who continued to engage in bad practises.

"We have to take a stand, but overall we have a fantastic channel," she said.

Hutley also encouraged Microsoft's customers and partners to question deals that looked too good to be true, because they invariably were.

The civil action against PC Club came six months after the assembler was the alleged victim of a bizarre Hyundai notebook heist at its Sydney warehouse. Its reseller, Global Trading Industries, alleged it was the victim of a truck hijacking on the same weekend as the warehouse robbery.

PC Club's Lee was also involved in a similar copyright infringement case brought by Microsoft in 1999 while working at another company, DAT Computers.

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