Wednesday, December 12, 2007:  In order to protect consumers and support legitimate online commerce, Microsoft Corporation has filed 52 lawsuits and the referral of 22 cases to local law enforcement in 22 countries including India, against resellers who allegedly sold counterfeit Microsoft software on various online marketplaces. The company also released a new educational guide to help consumers spot and avoid counterfeit software offered on online marketplaces.

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“Every day, software pirates around the world put countless consumers at risk by selling defective counterfeit software through Internet marketplaces,” said David Finn, associate general counsel, worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting, Microsoft. “As part of our ongoing effort to combat software piracy, Microsoft is committed to taking the legal action necessary to protect consumers around the world from the dangers of counterfeit software, and we encourage consumers to look to the legitimate channel – both online and offline – when seeking original Microsoft software.”

Fifteen of the 52 lawsuits filed involved software traced to the largest-ever commercial counterfeit syndicate, which was broken up earlier this year by Chinese authorities, the FBI and Microsoft. Through its investigations, Microsoft found that the counterfeit software produced by the Chinese syndicate was distributed in some markets through domestic online sellers. As in the takedown of the Chinese syndicate, Microsoft customers played a role in helping to identify the counterfeiters in these cases by filing piracy reports with Microsoft after anti-piracy technology in Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) indicated that their software was fake.

“The criminal syndicate broken up this past summer by Chinese law enforcement and the FBI was linked to a significant amount of illegitimate Internet activity,” Finn said. “We took note of that fact and followed up globally, since we have a responsibility to help combat cyber-pirates who operate without borders and attempt to deceive unsuspecting software consumers around the world.”