The case Microsoft launched late last week against Queensland-based Handii Pty Ltd – which it has accused of selling devices running unlicensed versions of Windows 7, may run a lot deeper than has at first appeared, with evidence now leading to the exposure of a regional syndicate that was distributing counterfeit Microsoft software.
At an interlocutory hearing in the Federal Court in Sydney, Justice John Nicholas made rulings aimed at restraining Handii and its associates from reproducing, importing and reselling any allegedly unauthorised software. Microsoft said it would seek damages and costs.
As CDN understands it, the ramifications go far beyond the marketing of a number of computers and tablets with unlicensed software in Australia.
According to a press release issued in Singapore, a three-nation operation over the past six months in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia has uncovered a regional syndicate that was distributing counterfeit Microsoft software produced in China and computers to a network across all three nations.
Amid strict secrecy, Singapore police on April 7 launched raids on storage warehouses in three locations, uncovering a covert counterfeit software ring that is said to go beyond the shores of the island. The police team seized more than 1000 pieces of software as well as 12 tablet PCs with unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows 7 installed.
Investigations had been launched after customers reported purchasing counterfeit retail copies of Office Professional 2010 and Windows 7 Ultimate software, as well as tablets pre-loaded with counterfeit software, and bearing counterfeit authenticity certificate stickers.
The press release issued in Singapore says: ” The six-month long investigation uncovered a regional syndicate distributing counterfeit software produced in China and computers to a network across Singapore, Australia and Malaysia.
Under the Singapore Copyright Act, a person found guilty of infringing copyright can be fined $10,000 for each item or maximum imprisonment of five years.