Second-hand software specialist Discount-Licensing has settled an IP claim with Microsoft but the deal does not affect the Staffordshire firm's core business, the company has confirmed.
Noel Unwin, managing director of Discount-Licensing, said that in the High Court proceedings as reported by ChannelWeb on Monday the US vendor specifically stayed away from attacking Discount-Licensing's core business, which is to source and sell Microsoft software licences sourced from the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Union.
"The EU Software Directive 2009 is in place to protect the pre-owned digital software markets and its customers in the EU region," Unwin said. "If all trading is kept within the EU, companies can dispose of their disused software licence assets and businesses can continue to purchase such products at discounted rates without the threat of legal action from the software vendors."
Unwin explained to ChannelWeb that the proceedings were partly instigated by Microsoft after a 30 March 2013 case in the US District Court between Capitol Records and ReDigi, where it was held that ReDigi's reselling of pre-owned digital music infringed on digital music copyright to Capitol.
"After learning of the outcome of the ReDigi case and following Microsoft's specific allegations of copyright infringement, Discount-Licensing took the immediate precaution of freezing all of its unsold US sourced software licences stock and refrained from purchasing any further software licences from the US and any other non-EEA country," he said.
Also shortly thereafter, in a move that would help protect its customers against the possible repercussions of an unfavourable decision by the court, Discount-Licensing took "the unprecedented step" of replacing all the US sourced software licences set out in the pleadings with EEA sourced software licences, he said.
The sale and purchase of such stock is protected under the EU Software Directive 2009/24/EC.
"On 11 April 2013, Microsoft threatened court action and subsequent proceedings were brought against Discount-Licensing for breach of copyright in respect of US (non-EEA)-sourced software licences, which were then sold to a relatively small percentage of Discount-Licensing's customers in the EEA region," Unwin explained.
Discount-Licensing is still able to resell Microsoft software licensing through the conventional channels, just like any other partner or reseller, he confirmed.
As reported on ChannelWeb, Microsoft issued a press statement on Monday noting only that Discount-Licensing had admitted unlawfully reselling second-hand Microsoft software licences, and importing the software into the European Union.
The claim related to "thousands of software licences", according to Microsoft, but Discount-Licensing has now paid "a significant sum" - settling Microsoft's damages and legal costs.
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