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Symantec wins counterfeit CD case

One spamming scam canned, thousands to go

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Symantec yesterday won a summary judgement against Oregon-based firm CD Micro for selling counterfeit Symantec security software at "too-good-to-be-true prices". The decision paves the way for a substantial damages payout against CD-Micro, which promoted the knock-off software using an aggressive spamming campaign.

The order, handed down by the US District Court for the District of Oregon, found CD Micro liable for infringements associated with selling counterfeit Symantec software. CD Micro CEO Vincent Webb also was held liable for copyright infringement.

A hearing scheduled on August 8 will determine the amount of damages due to Symantec. Symantec is seeking to recover "at least the $3.3 million in profits that CD Micro made from the sale of counterfeit copies of Norton SystemWorks Professional Edition software".

Symantec initiated legal proceedings against CD Micro in April 2002 after spammed email from CD Micro offering Symantec products at grossly reduced prices were brought to its attention. Investigations revealed the software, offered through a Web site called Free-IRewards.com, was counterfeit.

CD Micro was unresponsive to Symantec's inquiries into the matter, resulting in legal action taken by Symantec to halt the distribution of the counterfeit software.

Counterfeit Norton SystemWorks offers are a frequent spam topic, as evidenced in stats from anti-spam firm Brightmail. Symantec is committed to fighting this illicit trade.

"The summary judgment against CD Micro is another critical step in our ongoing efforts to combat the proliferation of counterfeit Symantec software," said William Plante, director, Worldwide Security and Brand Protection for Symantec. "Counterfeit software poses tremendous threats to users. The software may not work, causing damage to a computer system or leaving the system unprotected to cyber attack. Furthermore, the code of the counterfeit software itself may contain viruses or a Trojan horse to collect the private and financial information of the user."

In his summary judgment opinion, US District Judge Garr M. King found CD Micro liable for infringement of Symantec's copyrights and trademarks. In his ruling Judge King judge specifically mentioned the "too-good-to-be-true price" offered by CD Micro as illustrating a differentiator of legal software versus counterfeit software in this case. The judge also found in favour of Symantec's claims for unfair competition and trademark counterfeiting. ®

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