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Best Buy's Geek Squad Ordered to Stop Using Winternals Software

Posted on 13-Apr-2006 08:32 | Filed under: News


A US federal judge has granted a request by Winternals Software for a temporary restraining order requiring that Best Buy Co. and its subsidiary, Geek Squad, immediately stop using and pirating unlicensed versions of Winternals' copyrighted software.

The TRO is part of a federal copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Winternals against Best Buy Co. and Geek Squad for allegedly using unlicensed software products created and marketed by Winternals. The software is used for systems recovery and data protection solutions on computer systems.

In addition to the complaint, Winternals also asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the defendants stopping Geek Squad from using its software.

The lawsuit alleges that Best Buy and Geek Squad have used pirated and illegal copies of Winternals' software, including the 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.

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 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 Best Buy's Geek Squad 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. In February 2006, Best Buy 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.