(Austin, TX - April 12, 2006) A federal judge has granted a request by Winternals SoftwareŽ for a temporary restraining order (TRO) requiring that Best Buy Co. and its subsidiary, Geek Squad, immediately stop using and pirating unlicensed versions of Winternals' copyrighted software.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued the TRO as part of a federal copyright infringement lawsuit filed April 11 by Winternals against Best Buy Co. and Geek Squad for allegedly using unlicensed software products created and marketed by Winternals, a leading provider of systems recovery and data protection solutions for computer systems.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Austin, alleges that Best Buy and Geek Squad have previously and continue to knowingly and fraudulently utilize pirated and illegal copies of Winternals' copyrighted software, including the award-winning ERD Commander 2005, a system repair and data recovery tool that boots a dead computer into a familiar Windows-like, point-and-click environment for rapid system recovery. The software helps users restore deleted data, reset passwords, copy files to and from unbootable systems, edit the registry, and access Restore Points on a dead Windows computer.
ERD Commander 2005 is the flagship product in Administrator's Pak™ 5.0, Winternals' suite of repair, recovery, and troubleshooting tools for Windows Server 2003/XP/2000/NT. The software is widely regarded as the most powerful and complete set of administrative system tools available for the IT professional.
"It is ordered that Best Buy Co., Best Buy Stores and Geek Squad, Inc. immediately stop pirating, using, copying and/or distributing all unlicensed versions of the Winternals Software," Judge Sparks ruled in a three page order. "It is further ordered that the defendants and anybody privity or controlled by the defendants shall not discard, waste or destroy any evidence whatsoever relating to the use of any unlicensed versions of the Winternals Software. It is further ordered that the defendants within twenty days immediately deliver to the Court for impoundment all unlicensed copies of the Winternals Software."
In an 18-page lawsuit, Winternals claims that officials for Best Buy and Geek Squad contacted Winternals in October 2005 to inquire about purchasing a license that would allow their employees to use Winternals' software in performing their jobs. Winternals entered into negotiations with Best Buy and Geek Squad in an effort to reach a licensing agreement which would have covered most of Geek Squad's estimated 12,000 employees at a cost of several million dollars, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that during the next three months, Winternals and the defendants entered into a trial-and-test agreement in which Winternals provided Geek Squad with trial versions of its software and provided training to many Geek Squad employees. The complaint contends that in February 2006, defendants abruptly informed Winternals that they were no longer interested in pursuing a licensing agreement. However, the lawsuit claims that Geek Squad employees continued to use Winternals’ software in violation of the U.S. Copyright Act.
The complaint also alleges that, "at these training sessions, certain employees of Defendants approached Winternals’ representatives and stated that many of Defendants’ employees were very familiar with The Winternals Software and, in fact, had already been using The Winternals Software to repair malfunctioning and ‘dead’ computers of Defendants’ customers for some time without a license. These employees expressed that they were glad to see the Defendants finally coming into compliance with Winternals by seeking a license to The Winternals Software."
David Weaver, a partner at Vinson & Elkins whose Austin-based law practice focuses on intellectual property and copyright litigation, represents Winternals in this litigation.
For more information about the lawsuit, please contact David Weaver at (512) 542-8651 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you may contact Winternals public relations manager Kevin Franks at (512) 381-2972 or via e-mail at email@example.com. A copy of the complaint may be accessed at www.winternals.com/legal.