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Microsoft starts legal proceedings against counterfeiting Comet

Simon Quicke

Microsoft has started legal proceedings against retail giant Comet accusing the chain store of creating and selling more than 94,000 counterfeit copies of Windows Vista and XP.

The vendor discovered that Comet was producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling them to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops.

The legal proceedings come at an interesting time for Comet, which is being sold by its French owner Kesa Electricals to private equity firm OpCapita, as the struggling retailer looks to secure its own future.


Microsoft has been actively pursuing those that sell counterfeit products in an effort to protect the legitimate channel and the latest move has been described as the vendor as a necessary step to protect customers.

"As detailed in our complaint today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said David Finn, associate general counsel, worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting at Microsoft.

"Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products - and our customers deserve better, too," he added.

In response Comet claimed it had not done anything wrong and would be defending itself against the Microsoft action.

"We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers. Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft's intellectual property," the retailer stated.

"Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers.  It believes its customers had  been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer. Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously," it added.





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