Microsoft is suing UK electronics and PC retailer Comet for allegedly counterfeiting thousands of copies of Windows Vista and Windows XP. The shop is accused of pirating 94,000 recovery discs without the permission of the software giant.

It is claimed that Comet copied the discs at a factory in Hampshire and then bundled them with new PCs as recovery discs, even though they weren't official and, presumably, didn't carry Microsoft's hologram.

David Finn, associate general counsel, Worldwide Anti-Piracy and Anti-Counterfeiting at Microsoft inferred that the counterfeit copies did not meet the publisher's high standards: "As detailed in the complaint filed today, Comet produced and sold thousands of counterfeit Windows CDs to unsuspecting customers in the United Kingdom," he said.

“Comet’s actions were unfair to customers. We expect better from retailers of Microsoft products — and our customers deserve better, too."

A spokesperson for Comet said to British newspaper The Daily Mirror that its copying of the recovery discs was not in breach of Microsoft's copyright, and that it undertook the measures when Microsoft stopped the supply of Vista and XP discs itself: "We note that proceedings have been issued by Microsoft Corporation against Comet relating to the creation of recovery discs by Comet on behalf of its customers," she countered.

"Comet has sought and received legal advice from leading counsel to support its view that the production of recovery discs did not infringe Microsoft’s intellectual property.

"Comet firmly believes that it acted in the very best interests of its customers. It believes its customers had been adversely affected by the decision to stop supplying recovery discs with each new Microsoft Operating System based computer.

“Accordingly Comet is satisfied that it has a good defence to the claim and will defend its position vigorously."

Not once did she utter the words "Aah, Jim lad!" or stand on one leg, holding an upside-down broom.