Software copyright nets Microsoft $2m in damages

Microsoft was awarded more than $2 million in damages in the Australian Federal Court last week after a Parramatta reseller was found guilty of importing and distributing counterfeit Microsoft software.

CT Group, a computer dealer formerly known as Megaplus International, and Tony Polcino, a director of the company, were taken to court for infringements of the Copyright Act and Trade Marks Act.

The Sydney office of Microsoft Corporation's Law and Corporate Affairs division started an investigation into CT Group after receiving an anonymous tip through its anti-piracy hotline.

Ron Eckstrom, corporate attorney for Microsoft Asia-Pacific, said Microsoft sent an investigator to make contact with the company as part of the investigation.

"They conducted a trap purchase which revealed that the product being sold was counterfeit. That evidence was presented to the Federal Court which then allowed us to conduct a raid," Eckstrom said.

Business records and 21,500 units of counterfeit Microsoft software valued at $2 million were found at the premises in the raid.

The case against Polcino was settled separately.

The Law and Corporate Affairs department is responsible for protecting the Microsoft Corporation's intellectual property. It maintains a toll-free nationwide anti-piracy hotline in Australia, 1800 639 936.