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By | OUT-LAW.COM 1st December 2005 17:08

E-tailer unwittingly sold counterfeit software


A British website has been caught selling counterfeit Microsoft software which it obtained from what it thought to be a legitimate Chinese source. Microsoft was alerted when a customer of used Microsoft's Product Identification Service.

Microsoft’s team identified the copy as counterfeit and began investigations which led to The Middlesbrough-based e-tailer was shocked when it learned that it was selling illegal copies, according to Microsoft. It had obtained Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 from what it thought to be a legitimate Chinese source. It unwittingly sold over £7,000 worth of pirate software.

According to Microsoft, Paul Rowling, owner of, was extremely supportive at all stages of the investigations. Rowling provided Microsoft with information on the software’s source as well as with the details of all customers who had purchased counterfeit software from his site. then helped Microsoft to recover all of the pirate copies sold and has paid for those customers to receive full and legitimate versions of the software.

“ has been in business just over two years and we’ve prided ourselves on providing top-quality software, hardware and gadgets at reasonable prices,” said Paul Rowling. “We were shocked to find out that the software we’d been selling was counterfeit and apologise unreservedly to any customers affected. We have done everything in our powers to put the situation right and will continue to assist Microsoft while investigations continue."

Microsoft expressed concern that, as well as its customers, had suffered at the hands of the Chinese counterfeit trader.

“We’re delighted that our Product Identification Service has proved instrumental not only in closing down an illegal supply chain, but also in helping provide genuine versions of our software to victims of the counterfeit trail,” said Michala Alexander, Microsoft’s head of anti-piracy. “We will continue to pursue all vendors suspected of selling illegal software to ensure that customers benefit from the full functionality, support and protection of our legitimate products.”

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