The Australian Federal Court has ordered Melbourne-based PC assembler Goodview Electronics (trading as Golden Square Computers) to pay $1.2 million in damages to Microsoft.
The wholesaler's former marketing manager and company director Keng Liu, and general manager Kent Tsui, were held personally liable for the damages after the court was presented with the results of an 18-month investigation into the practices of Golden Square Computers.
Golden Square, which assembles about 5000 PCs a year under the "Gold PC" brand, was implicated, with counterfeit products handed in to Microsoft investigators last year. In June 2000, Microsoft was granted a civil search and seizure order by the court which revealed the company had been buying unauthorised versions of Microsoft software at about half the market price of genuine copies.
Microsoft's corporate attorney Vanessa Hutley claims the decision is a win for the entire distribution community. "Honest dealers trying to make a living should not have to shoulder heavy costs because others are selling illegal software," she said.
Microsoft, in conjunction with the Business Software Association of Australia, has undertaken a major scare campaign to ensure the channel is devoid of pirated software, and has taken legal action against a number of small resellers for everything from blatant software piracy to minor abuses of licence agreements.