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Year 3 of Singhania v Microsoft competition case enters SC

Law office 2013
Law office 2013
Delhi-based law firm Singhania & Partners’ August 2010 competition complaint against multinational software giant Microsoft, is now in the Supreme Court, with Amarchand Mangaldas advising Microsoft.

Justice GS Singhvi on Monday admitted the law firm’s appeal against a Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) decision absolving Microsoft of anti-competitive behaviour.

Amarchand Mangaldas Delhi competition partner Naval Chopra and associate Yaman Verma with senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi are acting for the Redmond-based software giant’s Indian subsidiary.

Singhania & Partners had complained to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in 2010 that Microsoft was abusing its dominant position in the market, by offering lower-price software to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) than it did in volume licensing to law firms or other businesses, which were forced to buy allegedly overpriced volume licences.

After the CCI rejected Singhania’s case on 30 June 2011, the firm, which was then represented by Seth Dua & Associates in the CCI, independently approached the Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) which on 22 September 2011 admitted its appeal.

On 9 October 2012, the Compat dismissed Singhania’s appeal, stating that Microsoft had legitimately sold differently designed software at different prices, that it had the right to sell a different licence to an OEM than to an end-user, and that it could rightfully refuse transferring the software sold with one particular machine to another old machine.

Singhania has now approached the Supreme Court asserting that Microsoft products – Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 – of which differently licensed versions were sold (volume and OEM) were identical products except for the cost.

It claims that Microsoft product dealers sell both licence versions to different customers as per demand, according to the Financial Express.

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