Citing various infringements and violations, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against a Canadian company that’s been selling the activation keys and tokens for a number of Microsoft products.
Claiming them to be unauthorized entities selling their software, Microsoft blames them for illegally using their logos, description, and other trademarked items in their ads for selling illegal keys. While warning the public that buying such activation keys from unknown sources lead to piracy, Microsoft requested an injunction on this issue.
Going After Illegal Sellers
Microsoft is undoubtedly one of the strongest players in the software industry, with offerings in many verticals for both businesses and individuals. Since it develops them with advanced features, whatever the pricing it fixes mostly goes undisputed.
But, there’s a piracy field that’s playing a big role in cracking this business. We see a number of unknown platforms selling the activation keys or tokens for Microsoft products – denting the original maker’s revenue.
This led Microsoft to file a case against one such seller – a Canadian company named The Search People Enterprises Ltd (TSPE), with defendants noted as its director Mehtabjit Singh and ‘John Doe’ defendants 1-10. It named websites like softwarekeep.com, softwarekeep.ca, saveonit.com, and catsoft.co in its lawsuit.
Naming them as the prolific distributors of “black market access devices” for Microsoft software, Microsoft states the practice as misleading and mischaracterization of its products to the public.
It defined itself as a seller of licenses to its products, but not a simple software seller – where anyone with a working activation key can unlock its potential. Instead, they sell license with several restrictions that only keeps the authenticity of their products.
Moreover, Microsoft talked about the decoupling nature of these activation keys – so they can be reused for more copies of the same software – sometimes more than Microsoft permits for one valid license. Since these constituents have no value to the end user, they warned them not to buy such keys from unauthorized sellers.
While it’s not going after the end users who may have unsuspectingly bought the illegal keys, it’s seeking damages from the defendant company. It stated being entitled to receive $150,000 in statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c) for each willful infringement while also requesting an injunction citing other violations like the illegal use of their trademarks in their ads.