US software giant Microsoft has announced its intention to sue French-owned electronics retailer Comet for allegedly creating and selling nearly 100,000 counterfeit Windows recovery CDs.
Microsoft claimed that the discs were sold to customers who had bought PCs loaded with Windows Vista or XP.
"As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," said David Finn, associate general counsel, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting, at Microsoft.
"Comet's actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products – and our customers deserve better, too."
Microsoft alleged that Comet produced the unlicensed backup discs in a factory in Hampshire, then proceeded to sell them in its outlets throughout the UK.
However, in a statement on its website, Comet announced its intention to contest the claim, stating its belief that it acted lawfully.
"Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft's intellectual property," it said.
"Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer."
Following the news, the share price of Comet's parent company Kesa fell eight per cent in 24 hours.