Radu Bercan /
1 July 2014Copyright

Microsoft files software piracy lawsuit

Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against a US technology company accusing it of software piracy that has contributed to widespread IP infringement.

The software company said Ocean Enterprises (OE) has distributed unauthorised copies of its software using the Microsoft name and logo, and should be held liable for copyright and trademark infringement.

According to a complaint filed at the US District Court for the District of Minnesota, OE is a company that “advertises, installs and distributes” computer hardware and software.

This includes software purporting to be Microsoft’s, the complaint said.

"Defendants advertised, marketed, installed, offered and distributed unauthorised copies of Microsoft software, infringing Microsoft's copyrights, trademarks,” Microsoft said in the complaint.

Microsoft has sued on six accounts: copyright and trademark infringement; false designation of origin; misleading description and representation; and unfair competition.

It has also sued on two counts relating to the profits OE may have earned.

Redmond-based Microsoft said the OE software incorporates established trademarks that have been registered at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

These include the words ‘Microsoft’ and ‘Windows’ as well as the software company’s coloured flag design.

Microsoft said it e-mailed OE in June 2012 warning it about the consequences of making and distributing unauthorisedsoftware.

Nevertheless, the complaint said, around July 2012 OE distributed to an investigator a computer system with an unauthorised copy of Windows XP installed on it.

Microsoft said something similar happened again last month, adding that the amount of damages it was due could not be calculated without “detailed accounts” from OE as to how many allegedly infringing units it had sold.

Microsoft is a member of software advocacy group The Software Alliance (BSA).

Earlier this month, WIPR  reported that the BSA’s latest Global Software Survey found that nearly half of computer users around the world have been using unlicensed or unauthorised software.

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