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Handii Pty Ltd agrees to pay $70,000 compensation for sale of counterfeit Microsoft software

3 June, 2011 | Sydney, Australia

SYDNEY, Australia — 03 June 2011: Microsoft Australia today settled a Federal Court of Australia action against Queensland-based company, Handii Pty Ltd (Handii), for the sale of counterfeit Windows 7 software pre-installed on its Handii-branded tablet PCs. As part of the settlement, Handii has agreed to pay Microsoft AUD$70,000 and to assist its customers by getting them genuine copies of Windows 7 Professional at no extra charge.

Anyone who has purchased a Handii tablet PC with Windows 7 Professional installed should contact Handii. Handii has agreed to replace counterfeit software with genuine product as required. Note that this counterfeit issue affects only Handii-branded PCs pre-installed with Windows 7 Professional, not those sold installed with Windows 7 Home Premium version.

Clayton Noble, Legal Counsel at Microsoft Australia, said, “This is a situation where we believe Handii’s customers would have been under the impression that they were purchasing genuine copies of Windows 7 Professional. In these circumstances, it’s important for Microsoft to take action to ensure that the purchasing public gets the genuine products it expects, and we thank Handii for its cooperation and collaboration in this matter. ”

He added, “Counterfeit software can contain dangerous viruses, spyware and other malware that can have a large impact on consumers. Microsoft’s tests of software available on online pirate software sites have shown that 35% of the counterfeit software offered contained harmful code. This harmful code can lead to identity theft, increased system instability and data loss. Counterfeiting also contributes to the funding of organised criminal activity.”

The Australian civil proceedings were part of a coordinated enforcement action taken on 7 April this year against a counterfeit software piracy network uncovered across Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. . A six-month long investigation uncovered counterfeit Microsoft Windows software and Certificates of Authenticity distributed through a network in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia installed on some Handii-branded tablet personal computers.

Police raids were conducted against resellers that had sold Handii computers in Singapore and Malaysia. The police raids were timed to occur simultaneously with urgent interlocutory injunctions obtained in in the Federal Court of Australia against Handii. The three coordinated enforcement actions were all conducted on the same day to prevent tip-offs and ensure that evidence was preserved.

The Singapore and Malaysian police teams, together with the Microsoft Counterfeit Investigation unit, seized over a thousand pieces of software in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as a number of Handii-branded tablet PCs that had unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows 7 Professional installed.

Every year, millions of consumers and businesses are hurt by counterfeit software which they have acquired unwittingly. Counterfeit software also has serious repercussions on the Australian channel, as these products are being increasingly being purchased through illegal international distributors rather than reputable Australian partners.

Microsoft encourages businesses and consumers looking to purchase software to consider several tips to help ensure their product is legitimate:

  • Always purchase from a reputable reseller. Do your homework and think about whether the reseller will give you after sales service if you have a problem.
  • If purchasing from an online auction trading site, beware. Check the online seller’s price against the estimated retail value of the software. If the price for software seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be especially cautious when dealing with software sellers in other countries. The physical distance, differences in legal systems and other factors can complicate matters if the transaction goes awry.
  • Avoid sellers offering “back-up” copies or compilations of software titles from different publishers on a single disk, these are clear indications that the software is illegal.
  • Be sure your anti-virus software and firewalls are up-to-date as counterfeit software may contain viruses and malware.
  • When purchasing a disk containing Microsoft software be sure the following materials are included and go to http://www.microsoft.com/genuine/ to ensure it is genuine and includes:
    • A Certificate of Authenticity
    • A hologram CD, DVD, or recovery media
    • High-quality product packing and documentation
    • An End-User Agreement

Criminal proceedings are ongoing in Singapore and Malaysia against a separately owned and operated distributor of Handii tablet PCs. These criminal proceedings relate to separate piracy allegations and do not involve Handii.

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Press Contacts:
Adam Clatworthy, Howorth, +61 2 8281 3860 (office), +61 419 126 767 (mobile), adam@howorth.com.au

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