Microsoft today announced legal action around the world against online auctioneers who allegedly orchestrated international marketing schemes and sold counterfeit software.

At the centre of its lawsuits is the so-called Blue Edition of Windows XP, a counterfeit version of Microsoft's aging operating system on CD.

In the UK, Microsoft began seven civil cases for alleged trademark infringement against traders on various internet auction sites for selling "high quality counterfeit" Windows and Office software.

Hundreds of buyers duped

Microsoft reckons that these sellers may have sold over 900 individual counterfeits to an estimated value of over £69,000.

Similar legal proceedings - 63 in all - were launched in the US, Germany, France, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand, emphasising the global nature of software piracy.

Despite the rampant sale of counterfeit and pirated software on internet auction sites, none of the actions Microsoft filed today have been brought against eBay or other auction sites.

In fact, says Microsoft, "Certain internet auction platforms, like eBay, proactively cooperate in the fight against counterfeiters."