Microsoft and Amazon have filed one joint and several separate phishing lawsuits.

The lawsuits are against various companies and individuals accused of trying to defraud consumers by imitating the two companies in spam e-mails.

The joint lawsuit was filed in Seattle against Gold Disk Canada from Ontario and alleges the company is responsible for sending millions of deceptive e-mail messages, including e-mail forgeries falsely purporting to have come from Amazon.com, Hotmail.com and other domains. The lawsuit also names co-defendants, including Barry Head and his two sons, Eric and Matthew.

Amazon.com also filed three lawsuits against unidentified defendants for their alleged involvement in phishing schemes targeted at its customers, the company said.

Microsoft has also filed a lawsuit against Leonid Radvinsky and his companies, Activsoft and Cybertania, as well as several unidentified defendants against whom Amazon.com filed suit in August 2003. The Microsoft lawsuit alleges that Radvinsky sent millions of illegal and deceptive e-mail messages to Hotmail customers including messages that were falsely labeled as coming from Amazon.com.

The lawsuits comes on the back of a wealth of legal action against spammers. Only last week, Microsoft revealed it has launched a second set of cases, including for the first time, one against an ISP.

Microsoft is leading the way with the legal action, but ISPs are not far behind, having grown tired with the cost and trouble that spam is causing. In March, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and Earthlink together sued 220 spammer in six different lawsuits.