Trade Me features in counterfeit software case

Counterfeit crackdown hits NZ

Trade Me is involved in major global crackdown on counterfeit software by Microsoft.

Microsoft has made another 63 legal filings in 12 countries, including New Zealand, against individuals who it says are selling counterfeit Microsoft products.

The 63 actions are against people allegedly selling counterfeit versions of Microsoft Office, Windows XP and other products at online auction sites, said Matt Lundy, senior attorney with Microsoft's anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting team.

Reports say in one case Microsoft is working on, a defendant operating in New Zealand was able to ship counterfeit software from China to customers in the US. Microsoft says it found sophisticated operations that relied on auction sites hosted in New Zealand that sold high-quality copies, then had the software shipped directly from the counterfeiter in China to buyers in the US, Europe and elsewhere.

A Microsoft NZ statement today says there are two separate international investigations against individuals based in Auckland selling high-quality counterfeit software, likely sourced from China.

The first was an Australasian investigation against dlive Limited, Xu Lei and Liao Yaopei, between July 2007 and October 2008 following appeals by local consumers who had purchased software using TradeMe but who had been unable to get their software to work. The software analysed included high-quality copies of Microsoft Windows Vista Business, Microsoft Office Professional 2007, Microsoft Office Professional 2003 and Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

The second case followed a nine-month international investigation against Jun Li, Gong Qi and Jingtao Jin who were offering Microsoft software products over several internet auction sites in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, including OZtion, iOffer and TradeMe.

Trade Me investigation officer David Annals also confirms Trade Me was a site involved.

"We are working with Microsoft in relation to that," he says.

Annals says an individual had passed Trade Me's checks and subsequently sold counterfeit software to members who then complained to Trade Me. Trade Me has been working with Microsoft to identify the sellers, he says.

Annals says Trade Me takes counterfeiting seriously.

Numerous consumer complaints were filed on iOffer and TradeMe against the reseller, Microsoft NZ says. Microsoft analysed and confirmed a sample of 27 items of software and found that it was all high-quality counterfeit software and the recommended retail value for that sample alone was over $22,000.

As part of its follow-up investigation in this case, Microsoft learned that the Auckland-based auctioneers sold high-quality counterfeit Microsoft Windows and Office software to unsuspecting consumers in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the U.S. and shipped it directly from China.

Settled this week, Jun Li agreed to a High Court of New Zealand judgement for damages in the amount of $100,000 and requiring him to restrain from infringing Microsoft's copyright, engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct in the course of trade, and to deliver up to Microsoft all infringing product in his possession, and pay Microsoft's legal costs.

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