Software giant Microsoft has begun legal action against Comet, the Kesa-owned electricals retailer that is being sold to private investment firm OpCapita, over alleged counterfeiting of product.

Microsoft accused Comet of allegedly creating and selling more than 94,000 sets of counterfeit Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs”. The claimed counterfeits were sold to customers who had purchased Windows-loaded PCs and laptops, Microsoft claimed.

David Finn, associate general counsel, worldwide anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting at Microsoft, said: “As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom. “Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products and our customers deserve better, too.”

The suit charges Comet with producing the counterfeits in a factory in Hampshire and then selling the media to UK customers.

Comet rejected the accusations and said in a statement: “We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers.  

“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.

“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.

“Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously.”