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Microsoft sues nine MAPS partners

Breach-of-contract claims filed against Action Pack Subscriptions partners for unauthorized software sales.

Microsoft filed seven lawsuits against Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions partners, marking the first time the company has taken legal action against its MAPS partners for alleged breach of contract.

The MAPS breach-of-contract complaints were among 10 lawsuits the software giant filed recently. Three of those suits dealt with alleged software piracy in cases unrelated to MAPS.

In the MAPS cases, Microsoft alleges that nine individuals obtained a number of its Action Pack subscriptions and then attempted to sell the software via online auction sites. The MAPS program is designed to allow partners to purchase Microsoft software at discounted prices, with the understanding it will be used for product evaluation and internal use, such as developing applications.

Microsoft, which monitors its MAPS program, alleges that these subscribers falsified information to receive multiple copies of software titles. Under the MAPS program, partners are allowed to participate only once a year and are forbidden to resell the software. Use of the MAPS software is also restricted to a partner's primary business location.

"Our partners are negatively affected by the activities of those who compete unfairly by either selling illegal software and components or abusing agreements that other partners abide by," John Ball, Microsoft U.S. Systems Builders Partner Group general manager, said in a statement.

The software company filed complaints against Catherine Will and Philip Parana of Buffalo, N.Y.; James Baker of San Diego; Kenneth Ham of College Station, Texas; Benjamin Hesson of Leesburg, Va.; Charles Klosek of Glenn Dale, Md.; Jimmy Huh of Encinitas, Calif.; Eric Mitchell of Santa Ana, Calif.; and Lang Ngo of San Francisco. The lawsuits were filed in California, Maryland, New York, Texas and Virginia courts.

Microsoft also filed lawsuits against three companies for alleged software piracy. Based on consumer complaints, the software giant purchased Microsoft-labeled products from the companies in question. After testing the products for authenticity, Microsoft says in its suit, it found they were counterfeits.

Microsoft sent cease-and-desist orders to Auction Hut of Toledo, Ohio; Comp-Discounts Software of Boca Raton, Fla.; and Computer Techs of Grove City, Pa. Microsoft claims the parties then continued their practice of selling counterfeit copies of Microsoft software, prompting the Redmond, Wash., giant to file lawsuits in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania courts.

These lawsuits represent the latest effort by Microsoft to crack down on piracy of its software and unauthorized resale of its products.