The Delhi High Court has awarded Rs 30 lakh as damages to Microsoft Corporation, Adobe Systems and Quest Software in connection with a suit against a Nehru Place company for using their pirated software.The order was passed by a Single Judge bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao.
The Plaintiffs were represented by Advocate Aasish Somasi.
Microsoft Corporation, Adobe Systems and Quest Software (Plaintiffs) had moved the High Court against the Defendant, a company named ‘Chetu’ which provided IT services and solutions to its clients, and its related parties, after it came to its knowledge that the Defendant was using unlicensed/pirated software programs of the Plaintiffs on its computers.
The Plaintiffs claimed that during the course of the investigation, it was confirmed that many employees at Chetu worked on software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe CS3 and Adobe Reader etc and approximately 200 computer systems were in use with pirated Microsoft Windows Operating System and other software programs.
The Plaintiffs subsequently conducted a license check within their database which revealed that there were no substantial licenses purchased in the name of the Defendant or its related parties.
Before the High Court, the Plaintiffs argued that the corporate or end-user piracy was the most damaging form of the software piracy which occurred when businesses, corporations, companies, institutions, schools, non-profit organizations, etc., made additional copies of software without authorization.
The Court noted that in the Microsoft and adobe case, the Defendant had not only failed to file any evidence on his defence but had also not finished the cross-examination of the Plaintiff’s witness.
The Court also took on record the reports by the Local Commissioner, which revealed that on first inspection, the Defendant could not produce the software license and on the second occasion, licenses were produced for some computers but without invoices.
While settling the preliminary issue of jurisdiction, the Court observed that the dispute was not between a specific Plaintiff and the Defendant so as to attract the exclusive jurisdiction clause in the license agreement.
“..in this suit, the dispute is between the plaintiffs and the defendants, the allegations being that the defendants are using unlicensed softwares on their computers.. the unauthorized usage of the software of the plaintiffs is in India and the plaintiff No.2 is based within the territorial jurisdiction of this Court for the plaintiffs to file the present suit in this Court. Further, I find, the registered Office of defendant No.2 is also in Delhi.”, the Court said.
The court concluded in Microsoft and Adobe case ,
So, the case as set up by the plaintiffs is established in terms of the reports of the Local Commissioner and it is clear that the defendants including the defendant No.2’s employees have been using unauthorized / unlicensed versions of the plaintiff Nos.1 and 3’s software (Mircosoft and Adobe) by installing them on their various computer systems and using in day to day business activities.
The court thus ordered,
“Accordingly, this Court awards damages to the tune of Rs.30 lakhs in favour of the plaintiffs to be shared equally by all of them and this is, in view of the prayers at (c) and (d) of para 64 of the plaint.”
Read the order here: