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$5 Million in Illegal Adobe Software Seized in Raid at Computer Swap Meet

July 20, 1999|GREG MILLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Law enforcement officials seized an estimated $5 million worth of illegal copies of Adobe Systems Inc. software products at a computer swap meet in Pomona on Saturday, company officials said.

The raid targeted seven vendors at the show, all Southern California-based companies accused by San Jose-based Adobe in a federal lawsuit of selling pirated copies of its popular desktop publishing and graphics software.

Adobe also has sued the event's organizer, National Productions of Morgan Hill, Calif., accusing the company of failing to take steps to prevent the illegal sales. The suit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Executives at National Productions said they were surprised by the suit and would have cooperated with Adobe if asked.

"They have never contacted us," said Bob Kushner, president of National Productions, which operates dozens of computer fairs each year in Reseda, Buena Park and Santa Barbara. "There's no way we can police what 350 companies at our show are selling every week."

The Computer Fair in Pomona typically attracts about 15,000 people, Kushner said, and is one of the company's most popular shows in Southern California.

Adobe investigators early Saturday made their way through the fair, checking merchandise and compiling a list of vendors.

Several hours later, federal marshals accompanying the Adobe investigators seized thousands of copies of illegal versions of Adobe's Photoshop, PageMaker, Acrobat and other products. Most of the copies were made by Adobe as demonstration versions or products discounted for education and not meant for retail.

Scott Oliver, an attorney who represents Adobe in the suits, said the company had been investigating the defendants for months and that computer fairs are a growing source of illegal software for consumers and other software pirates.

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