Microsoft has issued a writ against Surrey-based Software and Memory Trading (SAM), claiming it is selling counterfeit software, and has removed direct status from two OEMs which were selling unbundled versions of its software.
The moves led angry unauthorised dealers to claim that MS is using its financial muscle to eradicate the legal trade in grey market software.
The software giant is seeking injunctions restraining SAM from infringing copyright in its software, including packaging and documentation, passing off goods not connected with MS and infringing trademarks.
Mark Roberts, MS software theft programme manager, said: 'We're suing them for selling counterfeit MS Dos and Windows products. We've tested it and it is counterfeit but they're refusing to tell us their source so we had to issue a cease and desist letter.' But a source close to the SAM dealership denied MS' accusation. He said: 'They haven't broken any law. Microsoft seems to have a definition of counterfeit which differs from everyone else's. It says anything not sold through its authorised channel is counterfeit. Ultimately if Microsoft is continuing with its action, the dealer will be forced out of business.' Microsoft has openly declared that it is tackling the grey market as well as software theft, according to Roberts, who claimed the company is making 'huge inroads' in both areas.
'The majority of our investigations tackle counterfeiting but we have also issued warnings to OEMs that they are not allowed to sell unbundled software under MS Ts & Cs,' said Roberts.
MS lawyers are investigating EU laws against sales of unbundled OEM software.
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