Intellectual Property (IP) Crimes

Intellectual Property (IP) Crimes

Protecting consumers from non-genuine software that can lead to spyware, malware and viruses resulting in identity theft, data loss, and system failures.

IP crimes is a critical pillar of the Digital Crimes Unit—along with our other central focus areas of malware crimes, botnet crimes, and online child exploitation. Microsoft works with industry peers to promote IP protection, protect unsuspecting victims from cyber threats associated with counterfeit software, and ensure customers receive the brand experience and quality products they deserve.


Microsoft works with partners to raise awareness among customers and resellers about the risks of counterfeit software to enable them to better protect themselves from the increasing risks associated with acquiring and installing counterfeit software.

  • Play It Safe is Microsoft’s global initiative to emphasize the importance of using legitimate software and demonstrate the positive impacts of using properly licensed and legitimate software amongst businesses and consumers. In 2013, Microsoft released the results of an IDC study on the risks and financial losses that consumers and businesses face when they acquire and install counterfeit software.
  • is Microsoft’s website resource with tips to help consumers distinguish counterfeit from genuine software and ensure they’re getting what they expect. 


Microsoft continues to invest in anti-counterfeiting technologies that protect our intellectual property and alert consumers to the presence of counterfeit software. Through the use of cutting-edge technology and forensic science, we also assist international criminal law enforcement in tracking software pirates, filing cases and ultimately protecting consumers.


We actively support international criminal law enforcement agencies in taking action against software counterfeiters. Customers are also critical in the fight against software theft. The majority of all Microsoft enforcement cases have resulted from consumer tips and reports.  Since 2005, we have heard from more than 500,000 customers who reported counterfeit software, which was often riddled with malware and viruses or not working as they expected it to.  These reports have contributed directly to the filing of numerous civil actions against software pirates around the globe and to law enforcement prosecutions.