Microsoft this week filed another lawsuit in federal court accusing unidentified individuals with stealing its software by illegally activating more than 1,000 copies of Windows 7, Vista and 8, and Office 2010 and 2013.
The suit, filed with a Seattle court on Wednesday, was the latest in a string of cases opened by the Redmond, Wash. company in an effort to quash piracy.
"Microsoft's cyberforensics have identified over one thousand product activations originating from IP address 18.104.22.168 ('the IP Address'), which is presently assigned to Earthlink Inc., and which, on information and belief, is being used by the Defendants in furtherance of the unlawful conduct alleged herein," Microsoft's lawyers wrote in the complaint.
Like many other software vendors, Microsoft uses a product key -- in its case, a 25-character alphanumeric string -- to lock a license to a device. Keys are a core component of Microsoft's anti-piracy technology.
The product keys used to activate the bootleg Windows and Office had been stolen from the company's supply chain, used more times than legal or were activated outside their intended geographic region, Microsoft claimed.