Motorola Sues eBay Software Pirates

In a series of moves that could initiate a flood of legal activity, Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) has filed lawsuits against five individuals who it says have been illegally selling the company’s Radio Service Software (RSS) on the eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) online auction site.

“There was some correspondence, but since there was no action, we’re taking the hardest action possible,” Motorola spokesperson Laura Littel Zdon told the E-Commerce Times. “We’re going to go right to the lawsuits, right to legal action, to get everybody’s attention.”

eBay Not a Target

According to Motorola, the lawsuits, which were filed in California, New Jersey, New York and Texas, state that the defendants acquired Motorola’s RSS for many of its two-way radio models without the company’s consent, then advertised and sold the software on eBay.

The RSS is a computer program used with IBM-compatible computers to program Motorola’s two-way radios. Each radio model has its own RSS, which Motorola licenses on a restricted basis.

“We want it understood that we are not taking action against eBay,” Zdon said. “In fact, we would want eBay’s help.”

Reaching Out

Motorola manager of software asset protection Anthony Biell said that when Motorola made inquiries to eBay prior to the filings, eBay was found to be “unresponsive to Motorola’s copyright concerns.”

However, eBay already has in place the Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), which is set up to help police items that have copyright protection.

“We asked [Motorola] to participate and never heard back,” eBay spokesperson Chris Donlay told the E-Commerce Times. “We were a little perplexed by their comment that characterized us as unresponsive.”

Donley added that since hearing about the lawsuit Monday, eBay has “reached out” to Motorola again.

Responses Awaited

According to Motorola, the five defendants are Ivan Simer of Victoriaville, California, Jack Spero of Secaucus, New Jersey, Glenn Glover of Palestine, Texas, and Brooklyn, New York residents Frank D’Amato and Jack Hirsch.

“Before bringing action, we had an investigator purchase software from these defendants so that we could identify them and their location since this information is not available in the eBay listings,” Zdon said. “All five defendants were repetitive sellers of RSS on eBay.”

Zdon added that there was some correspondence with the alleged violators prior to the filing of any lawsuits. Others who were targeted ceased their actions within the past 60 days, but Zdon would not comment on any specifics regarding those cases.

There has been no official response to the lawsuits, according to Zdon. “The ball is in their court,” she said. “They have a certain amount of time to respond. If we can settle out of court, we will.”

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