Microsoft Files Lawsuits Against Three Southern California Computer Resellers

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 24, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it filed lawsuits in late August against three Southern California companies for copyright and trademark infringement, alleging unlicensed software installation and distribution of counterfeit products.

The lawsuits represent the first in a new “continuous sweeps” program that Microsoft has launched in several key North American regions aimed at stopping the practice known as “hard disk loading,” the installation of pirated software on computers that are in turn sold to customers. All three lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Seven companies were originally targeted by Microsoft for alleged illegal activities in Southern California. Microsoft has filed lawsuits against three of the companies: BMI Computers Inc. of Los Angeles; Comp America of Tustin, Calif; and Macro Computer Communication of City of Industry, Calif. BMI Computers and Comp America allegedly distributed counterfeit Microsoft® products, including the Windows® 95 operating system and Office 97, to undercover investigators. The four remaining companies reached monetary settlements with Microsoft. All the companies were investigated as a result of tips to the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline and the ongoing monitoring of computer swap meets in Southern California.

“As a legitimate reseller, I am reassured to know that Microsoft is going to be a constant presence in Southern California and will be on the lookout for companies that aren’t playing by the rules,” said Daniel M. Hou of Reyes Electronics. “Piracy is very prevalent in this particular region; I hope that Microsoft will do everything in its power to ensure a level playing field for all resellers.”

Jim Lowe, Microsoft corporate attorney, emphasized the “constant presence” element of this new program. “We don’t want pirate resellers to feel any sense of relief,” Lowe said. “Piracy investigators will be visiting California trade shows and swap meets on a recurring schedule to protect consumers from pirated software.”

Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products should contact the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline toll free at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send
e-mail to piracy@microsoft.com .To receive more information about software piracy, call the Business Software Alliance (BSA) Anti-Piracy Hotline at (888) NO PIRACY (667-4722) or send e-mail to software@bsa.org.

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