Microsoft Files Lawsuits on Behalf of New England Customers Deceived by Counterfeit Software

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 21, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. officials today announced that the company has filed lawsuits against eight New England computer retail establishments in response to complaints by customers and honest resellers. The lawsuits allege copyright violations and trademark infringement for the distribution of counterfeit products and installation of unlicensed software on computers sold to consumers.

Companies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island were investigated as part of an ongoing effort to help protect customers and legitimate distributors from the effects of software piracy. Pirated products may contain harmful viruses and often lack key elements, such as user manuals and product identifications, Certificates of Authenticity and software code.

“Software piracy undermines the integrity of the products and services we provide our customers,” said Ray Riddick of GreenPages Co., an authorized Microsoft Large Account Reseller in New England. “We will enthusiastically support Microsoft as it initiates action against companies that distribute illegal software.”

The five complaints in Massachusetts allege that the defendants distributed counterfeit Microsoft® product and that two of them also “hard disk loaded” unauthorized copies of Microsoft software onto the hard drives of computers they sell. The complaints are as follows:

  • Horizon Computer of Framingham (Civil Action No. 99-10098-RGS) allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of the Windows NTWorkstation and Windows 95 operating systems and Office Professional 97.

  • Macena Systems Inc. of Middleton (Civil Action No. 99-10100-RGS) allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Windows 95 and Office Professional 97.

  • National Computer Company Inc. of Quincy (Civil Action No. 99-10097-RGS) allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Windows 95 and Office Professional 97 and hard disk loaded Office Professional 97.

  • GT Computers Inc. of Woburn (Civil Action No. 99-10101-RGS) allegedly hard disk loaded Office Professional 97 and violated a March 1998 settlement agreement with Microsoft, whereby it agreed not to infringe Microsoft copyrights and trademarks. Before the settlement agreement, the company had allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Windows 95 and Microsoft Mouse, and allegedly hard disk loaded copies of Windows 95 and Office Professional 97.

  • CTS Computer Hardware Discount Inc. of Newton (Civil Action No. 99-10099-RGS) allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Windows NT Workstation and Office Professional 97. The company also violated a January 1998 settlement agreement with Microsoft, whereby it agreed not to hard disk load and distribute counterfeit copies of Windows 95 and Office Professional 97.

The New Hampshire and Rhode Island complaints, also alleging distribution of counterfeit software and hard disk loading, are as follows:

  • Corporate Computer Consultants a k a Corporate Computer of Londonderry, N.H., (Civ. No. 99-21-B) allegedly hard disk loaded and distributed counterfeit copies of Office Professional 97 and Windows 98.

  • Worldwide Computer Solutions Inc. of Keene, N.H., (Civ. No. 99-20-B) allegedly distributed counterfeit copies of Windows 95 and Office Professional 97.

  • Compusource a k a Computer Source of Johnston, R.I., (Civ. No. 99-023-T) allegedly hard disk loaded and distributed counterfeit copies of Office Professional 97.

“These states have lost more than $1 billion in combined wages, taxes and revenues because of software piracy,” said Nick Psyhogeos, Microsoft corporate attorney. “We intend to hold illegal businesses accountable and help diminish the many negative effects software piracy has had on the economy and people of New England.”

Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line toll free at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448), or send
e-mail to piracy@microsoft.com. In addition, a list of authorized distributors and details regarding the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) System Builder program is available at http://www.microsoft.com/oem/ . Consumers can obtain more information about software piracy by calling the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or sending e-mail to software@bsa.org.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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