Microsoft recently found itself on the right side of the gavel when it was
awarded $1.5 million in a case against Chicago-based Logical Choice
Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the U.S. District Court, Northern District
of Illinois, Eastern Division, issued a 33-page opinion on January 19, in
which she found Logical Choice Computers had distributed counterfeit copies
of Microsoft Office Professional 97 and Windows 95 software.
Microsoft’s piracy charges date back to 1999, when a cease-and-desist letter was sent to Logical Choice. The letter, which
demanded that Logical Choice stop distributing counterfeit Microsoft
software, went ignored.
The court upheld the software titan’s charges, noting that the actions of
Logical Choice Computers’ “amounted to willful infringement and ignorance of
Microsoft’s legal rights.” Additionally, the court found that the actions
violated the Federal Copyright Law, Federal Trademark Law, Illinois Uniform
Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive
Trade Practices Act and the Illinois common law of unfair competition.
“We applaud the U.S. District Court’s decision,” said Janice Block, a
Microsoft corporate attorney. “Our primary goal in this case was to seek a
permanent injunction where Logical Choice Computers would no longer be able
to distribute counterfeit software.”
She added that the court’s decision benefits the community and the
economy as a whole. “In 1999 alone, combined financial losses for
Illinois — including wage and salary, tax revenue, and retail dollars for
business software applications — totaled more than $403 million, due to
software piracy,” she said. “Software piracy is incredibly harmful to our
state’s economic health and cannot be tolerated. The ruling of the Illinois
Court against Logical Choice Computers is a promising step forward in the
fight against piracy.”
According to a study by International Planning and Research Corp.,
Illinois’ software piracy rate is 21.2 percent — which translates into more
than one in five software products in the state being pirated. During 1999,
the state lost more than 4,000 jobs due to software piracy, resulting in
lost wages and salaries exceeding $217 million.
Federal and state tax losses stemming from software piracy robbed
Illinois of more than $72.1 million during 1999, according to the study.
A Microsoft spokesperson could not be reached for further comment.