Symantec has filed a series of eight civil lawsuits against distributors of counterfeit Symantec software, seeking a total of more than $55-million in damages from the cases involved.
The suits were all filed at the United States District Court level in the California, involving the following businesses in their respective states: Acortech, (California); mPlus, (California); Logical Plus, (New York); SoftwareOutlets.com, (Florida); Rowcal Distribution, (California); Global Impact, (Florida); Directron.com, (Texas); eDirect Software, (Canada).
In the filings, Symantec included claims that the businesses engaged in trademark infringement, copyright infringement, fraud, unfair competition, trafficking in counterfeit labels and documentation, and false advertising. Symantec has asked for a jury trial in each case and is seeking damages in profits from each entity ranging from $4-million to $10-million in each claim.
“The threat posed by these software pirates to users and the safety of their personal and financial online information cannot be overstated,” says Patrick Evans, regional director of Symantec Africa.
“Counterfeit software might not work properly and damage a user’s machine, or it can be loaded with identity theft programs. Counterfeit software also may not be able to receive automatic updates and as a result leave the user vulnerable to new online threats. These software pirates were moving large quantities of counterfeit product and, as a result, numerous unsuspecting users are now at risk for having their information stolen or lost.”
Symantec’s investigation of the companies was conducted by its Brand Protection Task Force, which used test purchases of the suspected counterfeit product and the review of defective discs submitted by customers of the accused businesses to from the basis of the complaints that were filed.
Counterfeit versions of the following Symantec solutions involved in each case included Norton SystemWorks, Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, pcAnywhere and Symantec AntiVirus Small Business Edition. Symantec’s internal investigation indicates that most of the sales were conducted online, with the actual disks delivered in single, blank white sleeves to unwitting customers, with no documentation, directions, labelled packaging, or activation code information.
In addition to damages, Symantec is asking for a permanent injunction against all of the businesses from conducting further sales of unauthorised Symantec products and to turn over all existing inventory of the counterfeit Symantec software held by the businesses and their affiliates.