back to article Microsoft claims victory over second-hand software broker

Discount-Licensing, a broker of recycled software and member of FAST, has coughed a "significant sum" to settle a trademark infringement case that Microsoft took to the British High Court, a legal counsel for the titan has claimed. The Birmingham-based reseller says it trades in Microsoft Open, Select and Enterprise volumes …


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  1. Mephistro Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Another day, ...

    ... another reason to avoid buying MS products.

    And I wonder whether these T&Cs affect the way MS products should be amortized. It would be ironic if said T&Cs lowered even further the appeal of MS's products.

  2. gerryg

    There must be more to this than we're being told

    I thought the EU had decided that you can resell software even if the software company says you can't when Oracle tried to dob-in UsedSoft.

    The absence of hard numbers gives this settlement (why not get a verdict... oh, wait, see above) a fishy odour.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There must be more to this than we're being told @gerryg

      "The absence of hard numbers gives this settlement (why not get a verdict... oh, wait, see above) a fishy odour."

      Of course, if MS paid a similar settlement to someone, that'd be guilt in your eyes. Reg forums - home of the double standard ...:)

    2. localzuk

      Re: There must be more to this than we're being told

      I thought it was pretty clear - the company was importing licenses from outside the EU for sale in the EU. That ruling only covers products first sold in the EU in the first place really.

      The settlement is regarding use of the trademark, which it not being a product sold in the EU under the trademark as allowed by the trademark holder, is infringement of the trademark rights of Microsoft.

      Kinda a dumb system to be honest!

    3. auburnman

      Re: There must be more to this than we're being told

      There's what you are legally allowed to do, and what Microsoft will allow you to do without dragging you through the courts for years. Whether it's legal or not, MS wouldn't risk that precedent being established. The confidential settlement amount was probably £100, infinitely preferable to being bled dry with legal bills over years.

  3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    This is the bit that just wrong.

    "Some years back, Microsoft changed the terms of its Open agreement so that "resale" of the licence was "expressly prohibited". Under Select volume deals, Microsoft moved Ts&Cs so that customers were ordered to not engage in "transferring licences for resale to unaffiliated third parties"."

    In almost every other area of "purchase", the buyer can sell on the purchased product without let or hindrance "as is". Maybe if more people sent back "faulty" products and demanded a timely "repair or refund", companies might actually sell a product worth buying even with these stupid encumbrances.

  4. Oh Homer Silver badge

    Another "grey imports" fiasco

    This seems like another abuse of trademarks to stymie grey imports, just like the one Levi hit Tesco with a few years ago.

    Frankly I'm amazed that companies can legally use trademarks under such a weak pretext. Once the manufacturer sells the product, it rightfully belongs to someone else, and that should be the end of any legal entitlement the manufacturer has to it.

    Although in this case the fact that the "product" itself is also "IP" somewhat complicates matters, the fact is no copyright infringement was claimed, only that selling something cheaply was somehow a violation of Microsoft's precious name.

    What a scam.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Another "grey imports" fiasco

      I would go further and say that as they are not 'New' licences and there is no attempt to market them as such then the trademark aspect should not be relevant here.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Another "grey imports" fiasco

      The software isn't sold, its licensed.

      I know, if it looks like a duck... but I suspect this is in part driving the cloud thing - tighter control.

      I suspect it will back-fire at some point. The fact that the terms are all undisclosed seems to indicate that someone was doing something wrong, but MS wants to paint it as something else.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: Another "grey imports" fiasco

        How do you define a grey import in this case, coded in Amerika, duplicated & printed in some third world country, distributed from Germany, paid to a Irish/Dutch/Irish shell company. The only thing that seems to originate in the EU is the licence agreement.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Discount-Licensing, a broker of recycled software and member of FAST"

    Isn't FAST the "Federation Against Software Theft"?

    If so, perhaps there's probably more to this than meets the eye - perhaps MS were acting both sides of the case and manipulated a sock/glove puppet accused to establish a precedent advantageous for themselves?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Interesting idea.

      Given Microsoft's behaviour in the open document standard fiasco, I wouldn't put it past them.

  6. Crisp Silver badge

    Second-hand software buyers

    "Second-hand software buyers are rarely in a position to tell whether or not the transaction is legitimate"

    Surely that's the fault of microsoft, not the second hand software buyer?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Second-hand software buyers

      "committed to saving punters from these risks"

      I am glad they are doing all this to protect us. I feel so much safer now...

  7. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Software licensing is governed by the laws of the country where the license was purchased. The EULA text contains 98% of bullshit, in Europe at least.

    I do not know how they managed to pull this one off and I think we really need to address "grey imports" in Brussels. This kinda crap needs to stop. We are in the age of the Internet where I can buy stuff in HongKong, Sydney, or Tokyo from an igloo somewhere in Denmark, FFS.

  8. Alistair MacRae

    Another victory for the consumer!

    Glad courts are all trying hard to get us a fair deal...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft said:

    "Second-hand software buyers are rarely in a position to tell whether or not the transaction is legitimate"

    But forgot to mention:

    And we are doing our best to make sure this continues for as long as possible.

    1. Tim Bergel

      Yes indeed, and in the para following:

      "that Microsoft is committed to saving punters from these risks, and will "therefore continue to bring action against those who infringe its rights and distribute its software unlawfully".

      "committed to saving punters from these risks" indeed!

  10. petboy

    But they are committed to saving us from the risks. Any business with half a brain will look at this case, the Microsoft T&Cs and the veiled threat from Microsoft and immediately use someone else's software instead.

    The Microsoft Spokesman didn't specify *how* Microsoft was aiming to protect us ...

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