Microsoft Awarded $8 Million Judgment in Software Piracy Case
Federal Court Assesses Damages Against Taiwanese Computer Company and U.S. Subsidiary
Redmond, Washington - March 13, 1996 - Microsoft Corporation today announced an $8,080,000 federal court judgment against Unitron, Inc., a Taiwanese computer manufacturer and former Microsoft licensee, in connection with the illegal manufacture and distribution of millions of dollars of Microsoft( operating system software. The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles awarded Microsoft $1.78 million in additional damages against Unitron's CEO, Cheng Hsuing Chen, and its United States subsidiary, Unitron Computer USA, Inc., based in Industry, CA.
Microsoft filed its copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against Unitron in 1993, alleging that the computer manufacturer had manufactured and distributed tens of thousands of illegal copies of Microsoft's MS-DOS and Windows software programs, in violation of its license agreement. In a 1993 raid, U.S. Marshals, acting in concert with Microsoft investigators, seized more than 125,000 copies of the counterfeit software, with a street value of approximately $7 million.
"This ruling closes the book on one of the largest software piracy cases we have pursued," said Microsoft attorney Jim Lowe. "We will continue to pursue legal action aggressively against companies that defraud consumers by counterfeiting our software."
Unitron, Inc. had been licensed to distribute Microsoft operating system software with its own computer systems, but the company and its subsidiary were also manufacturing and distributing large volumes of "unbundled" software, in violation of the company's license agreement and federal copyright and trademark laws. Microsoft terminated its license with Unitron prior to filing its lawsuit against the company.
Microsoft licenses its MS-DOS and Windows operating system software to computer manufacturers to include with their PCs for sale. However, Microsoft's license agreements prohibit the distribution of Microsoft products by themselves, without an accompanying PC.
End users who obtain pirated software risk exposing their computers to computer
viruses, and may not receive product support, upgrade offers or other benefits available
to registered users of legitimate software. Customers with questions about the legitimacy
of Microsoft products should contact the Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline toll-free
at 1-800-RU-LEGIT (785-3448) or send email to firstname.lastname@example.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, MS-DOS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.