Reseller ITAC has been ordered to pay £2.5million in damages for infringing Microsoft's rights.
Barry Omesuh, owner of the Manchester-based business, was given a total of seven custodial sentences at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, ranging in duration between one and nine months, all of which are to be served concurrently. He was also found in contempt of court for breaching court orders issued in March 2008.
Microsoft has announced that it will be implementing an earlier court order entitling it to sell Mr Omesuh's properties in order to partly discharge his debts to Microsoft. It claimed that Mr Omesuh compounded the situation by consistently flouting court orders made against him regarding the disclosure of his assets.
The conclusion of this recent court case is the latest in a series of legal disputes in which Mr Omesuh was found to have infringed Microsoft's intellectual property rights.
Microsoft launched legal proceedings against ITAC in 2004 for the reseller's involvement in parallel importing. In February 2006, ITAC agreed to pay Microsoft £1 million compensation for this infringement and promised never to do it again. Despite this promise, Microsoft claimed that ITAC continued to jeopardise the profitability of legitimate resellers by unlawfully trading in Microsoft software.
In her judgment on the contempt issue, Mrs Justice Proudman said: “The defendant was a wholly unreliable witness who on his own admission told a number of bare-faced lies about relevant matters over a period of time.”
Graham Arthur, anti-piracy attorney at Microsoft UK said: “This case against ITAC and Mr Omesuh shows that Microsoft takes a zero tolerance approach to anyone who undermines the level playing field for our retailer community. We're working hard, sometimes behind the scenes, to ensure the software reseller market is a place where all retailers can compete on an equal footing.
“We want to make sure that retailers caught cheating the system are held accountable for their damaging actions. We caught ITAC trading illegally more than once which shows how determined we are to protect genuine, honest businesses from being undercut by unscrupulous traders. In today's climate, we believe this is more important than ever, particularly when the culprits blatantly persist in their unlawful trading.”