ABC Transportation Company vs. Microsoft Corporation

ABC Transport retained Levy LeGette in July of 2012 following an audit performed by their
Microsoft reseller that revealed unauthorized use of Microsoft technology over a period of nearly 11 years. The relationship with Microsoft had deteriorated to the point where Microsoft was pursuing legal action to recover their alleged losses and ABC Transport had taken on outside counsel and engaged with Microsoft on a hostile basis.

In June of 2012 and prior to our engagement, ABC Transport had received multiple communications directly from Microsoft’s Acting Director of Anti-Piracy referring to ABC Transport’s alleged widespread illegal use of Microsoft technology. As Microsoft’s communications explained, ABC Transport had been engaged in a “prolonged period of non-compliance” and cited specific terms of the multiple agreements between Microsoft and ABC Transport including a Master Business Agreement (“MBA”)” that ABC Transport had entered into with Microsoft over a decade earlier. As of June 2012 and thereafter, the MBA continued to govern the rights and liabilities of ABC Transport and the stated outcome they might expect due to a prolonged period of unauthorized use of Microsoft’s technology.

The facts were that ABC Transport was indeed subject to the requirements outlined by Microsoft’s Anti-Piracy Director pursuant to specific terms contained in the MBA that the parties had executed years ago. It is important to take into account that the MBA had never been negotiated or amended and the terms that were now in play were Microsoft’s standard MBA terms and conditions – never a good position for the licensee, considering that all of Microsoft’s agreements are written to protect their interests and not necessarily those of the world at large.

Microsoft, in a show of good faith, made one last offer in writing, providing ABC Transport with an unusually generous offer along with a caveat that, if the final offer was rejected or remained unaccepted as of June 28, 2012, Microsoft would pursue resolution of its complaint against ABC Transport, the complaint having already been filed in court.

ABC Transport allowed the Microsoft offer to expire on June 28, 2012, and thereafter retained Levy LeGette. Within weeks, Levy LeGette was able to convince Microsoft to stop the legal proceedings and restructured an offer that allowed ABC Transport to enter into a new volume license agreement, pay volume licensing prices commensurate with a company of their size, and avoid paying penalties of any kind for past unauthorized use. We were able to reinstate a license model that had been taken off the market in order to make the newly negotiated deal less cost prohibitive.

The fact that ABC Transport would have been obligated to pay single retail licensing for each version of the products in use over an 11-year period was confirmed to ABC Transport by Microsoft – along with the additional liabilities and expense associated with a legal action.

Levy LeGette was able to rectify the serious situation that ABC Transport faced by negotiating exceedingly favorable terms for a volume license agreement with Microsoft that was executed in September 2012.

In the end, what we delivered to ABC Transport was a revived and healthy relationship with Microsoft along with unique licensing, pricing and other commercial terms that would ordinarily not have been extended to a customer in the same situation ABC Transportation found itself on June 28, 2012.