The Delhi High Court has awarded Rs 30 lakh as damages to tech giant Microsoft Inc, Adobe Systems and another firm after a company based in the national capital's Nehru Place used pirated software of the three companies. "This Court is of the view, in the absence of any defence of the defendants and the magnitude of the violation carried out by the defendants, the plaintiffs shall also be entitled to damages. 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," said a single-judge bench of the High Court presided by Justice V. Kameshwar Rao.
The court also restricted Chetu, the Delhi based company from using any software of the three companies (Plaintiffs) illegally. "The defendants, their principal officers, directors, agents, franchisees, servants, and all others acting for and on their behalf are restrained from directly or indirectly using for any kind of computer-related activities or otherwise, pirated/counterfeit/unlicensed software of the Plaintiffs," the court said. 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 had hired an independent investigator to determine the activities of Chetu and its related clients. During the investigation, it was found that there are approximately 300 computer systems at Chetu, which are operating software programs such as Microsoft Office. It is also stated that there is no installation of Open Office on any of the computer systems. It was further revealed that 40 to 50 employees at Chetu work on software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe CS3 and Adobe Reader.
"There are approximately 200 computer systems in use at Chetu and that all the computer systems operate Microsoft Windows Operating System and have software programs such as Microsoft Office installed upon them. He also divulged the use of software programs such as Adobe Reader 9.0, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash by approximately 60 employees working on computer systems at Chetu," the petitioner told the court. The plaintiffs claim that in September and October 2010 it conducted a license check within their database which revealed that there were no substantial licenses purchased in the name of the defendants.