The PC assembler at the centre of a bizarre Hyundai notebook heist earlier this year has been taken to the Australian Federal Court by Microsoft following allegations that it sold counterfeit software.
A statement released by Microsoft on November 5 said the vendor was seeking damages from PC-Club Australia, along with its associates David Lee, My My Lee and Kane Fang, for the group's use of pirated Microsoft software. The case was filed in July.
The software giant's senior attorney, Vanessa Hutley, said PC-Club had infringed its copyright by pre-loading unlicensed computer software onto PC systems.
"In the course of the hearing, PC-Club has conceded that it has infringed the Microsoft and Windows trade marks by reason of its supply of over 2000 PCs loaded with Microsoft Windows XP Home with counterfeit Microsoft certificates of authenticity attached to those PCs," she said.
Speaking to ARN, PC-Club representative, David Lee, claimed he had bought the Windows certificates of authority (COA) labels, used to identify genuine Microsoft software, from a large manufacturer in Taiwan.
Lee said he had believed them to be originals.
The judge's ruling on the latest anti-piracy case is expected to be made early next year.
Lee was also involved in a similar copyright infringement case brought by Microsoft in 1999 while working with former company, DAT Computers.
In that instance, the company had bought software from a local sub-distributor that had offered the products 10 per cent cheaper than the main distributor, he claimed.
The case was resolved, and a settlement between the two parties reached. Lee was also issued with a court injunction ordering him to cease infringing Microsoft's copyright.
The civil action against PC-Club comes six months after the assembler was the alleged victim of a break-in at its Sydney warehouse.
As reported by ARN at the time, the burglars made off with an estimated $60,000 worth of stock including components, LCD monitors and notebooks.
PC-Club had been importing components from Hyundai Digital to locally assemble notebooks.
These were being sold to its reseller, Global Trading Industries (GTI), which bundled the notebooks as part of a home entertainment system retailing for $2499.
GTI was also the victim of an alleged truck hijacking on the same weekend as the PC-Club warehouse robbery.
The truck had been carrying 680 Hyundai ImageQuest P571 notebooks worth more than $1 million.
Although PC-Club is an authorised Hyundai assembler, the robberies fuelled speculation the notebooks in question were in fact, parallel imports.
At the time, distributor Hyundai International released a statement suggesting the stock supplied by PC-Club to GTI was unlicensed.