Microsoft sues MAPS partners, systems builders

Microsoft sues MAPS partners, systems builders

Microsoft has filed seven lawsuits against partners for allegedly violating Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions.

Microsoft has filed seven lawsuits in the US against partners for allegedly violating their Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions (MAPS) contracts by reselling software meant for internal use only and for other activities, the company said.

It's the first time the vendor has taken legal action against MAPS partners, who are permitted by Microsoft to obtain software at a discounted price for internal use only.

The software company also filed three other suits against system builders for allegedly selling PCs with counterfeit Microsoft software installed on them, Microsoft attorney, Matt Lundy, said.

Microsoft had filed the various complaints in an effort to protect Microsoft partners that are abiding by the rules of their contracts and doing business fairly, US system builder general manager at Microsoft, John Ball, said.

"We are all about trying to level the playing field for our partners who are doing the right thing and selling software in the right ways so they can compete and create a business that's lucrative for them," he said.

The suits against MAPS partners were filed on November 18 in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, while the three suits against system builders were filed Tuesday in US District Courts in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio, where each of the companies is located.

System builders named in the alleged counterfeiting actions are: Auction Hut, Toledo, Ohio; Comp-Discounts Software, Boca Raton, Florida; and Computer Techs, Grove City, Pennsylvania.

In the MAPS complaints, Microsoft was alleging that partners violated their contracts by selling software they received through the MAPS program on online auction sites, Lundy said.

Some of the parties also allegedly deceived Microsoft by obtaining multiple MAPS in a single year when their contract mandates they could only obtain one per year, he said.

Microsoft learned of partners' alleged contract violations by monitoring MAPS program activity, Lundy said.

In the system builders' case, Microsoft had asked the companies named in the suits to cease and desist selling counterfeit software, he said. The company took legal action only after the partners continued what Microsoft believed to be illegal activity.

Microsoft was seeking several remedies in the cases, Lundy said. The company was asking for court orders to prohibit such conduct by the companies and individuals in the future, and also was asking the courts to impose fines based on the individual circumstances of each case.

The lawsuits mark the latest of Microsoft's continued efforts to stop companies and individuals from pirating and counterfeiting its software products. In September, the company filed eight antipiracy lawsuits against companies for allegedly distributing counterfeit software or copies that infringe on Microsoft trademarks or copyrights.

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