It is difficult to determine the number of counterfeits produced for any software on the market. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) and the US Copyright Act provide some leverage to assist software and copyright owners. However, the trick is to identify and prove that the software developed and sold by others is counterfeit.
If a software or copyright owner can establish that someone is peddling counterfeit or fake software, then significant remedies and penalties can be invoked. It is estimated that counterfeiting costs the software industry about $10 billion dollars. Often the significant criminal penalties that are associated with counterfeiting are necessary to put counterfeiters out of business.
Without criminal penalties, counterfeiters are often willing to pay civil fines, and continue their infringing activities in a different manner. However, to establish counterfeiting often more evidentiary issues are involved than a traditional copyright or trademark infringement lawsuit. One of the leaders in the software industry is Microsoft.
Microsoft has developed a method of using investigators and unique disc manufacturing to assist in policing counterfeiters. Differences in color, grooves, and ridges can assist in establishing counterfeiting. Microsoft even has investigators policing the web to identify sources and locate the origin of counterfeiters.
Once, counterfeiters are located Microsoft will enlist the aid of local law enforcement to put the counterfeiters out of business for good. If you have any concerns or questions implementing policing mechanisms, prosecuting or defending against counterfeiting claims, then feel free to contact us.