Quebec reseller hit by another counterfeiting lawsuit

After having faced CDN$700,000 (US$581,680) in damages for counterfeiting Microsoft software, pleading guilty to contempt of court for continuing to do so, and being fined to pay $100,000 by the Federal Court of Canada, Carmelo Cerrelli of Interplus Online, a Quebec based reseller, has been handed down yet another judgment, but this time from the United States District Court for the Central District of California for counterfeiting Symantec software.

Symantec Wednesday announced that the civil court in Los Angeles handed down a verdict that awarded the security software and solutions vendor $12 million in damages against Interplus, for its selling of counterfeit Symantec software throughout North America.

Cris Paden, a Symantec spokesperson on the issue, said while Interplus is based in Canada, the company was able to file a court case in the U.S. because Interplus also had offices in New York. The counterfeit software was being sold through Interplus' New York office through sales off of the Internet, Paden explained.

The $12 million ruling makes this one of the largest single judgments awarded to Symantec in a software piracy case, Paden said.

"Twelve million dollars is the amount of damages we incurred as a result of the profits (Interplus) made from selling the counterfeit software," Paden said. "If a legitimate piece of software costs $60, but (Interplus) was selling it for say $20 each, the damages we'd still lose would be $60 because it prevented someone from buying a legal version. Whether or not the ($12 million) is paid out, the main thing is we shut these guys down because we want to protect our users more than anything."

Ram Manchi, president of Houston, Texas-based AGMA (Alliance for Gray Market and Counterfeit Abatement), says the issue of pirated software is a worldwide problem that is very commonplace these days.