Microsoft sues eight companies

Microsoft has filed eight lawsuits against what it alleges are software pirates - all US computer systems builders and resellers.

Abacus, Avantek, First E-Commerce, M&S Computer Products, Micro Excell, Odyssey Computers, Signature PC and Technology One have all been accused by the software giant of distributing counterfeit software and software components.

The suits allege copyright and trademark infringement and were filed after Microsoft sent cease-and-desist letters to the companies. It filed similar suits against eight other dealers in 2004.

Microsoft discovered the alleged counterfeiting during its test purchasing program, under which it buys software from dealers to test for authenticity.

Counterfeit software undermines the business of legitimate products and accounts for 22 percent of the software being used on computers in the US today, Microsoft claimed.

In an effort to fight piracy, the company lobbied for new legislation which provides criminal and civil penalties for the distribution of standalone Certificate of Authenticity (COA) labels or authentic COA labels that are separated from the software they are intended to certify.
That legislation, called the Anti-Counterfeiting Amendments Act of 2003, was signed into law by President Bush in December. One of the resellers was also sued for allegedly violating the new law, Microsoft said.