A federal court has awarded Symantec $21 million in damages against an international network of counterfeit software distributors.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based anti-virus giant sought only $15 million in damages when it filed suit last December against ANYI; SILI Inc.; and individuals, including Mark Ma, Mike Lee, John Zhang and Yee Sha in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, accusing the group of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, fraud, unfair competition and false advertising.

Symantec worked in conjunction with the FBI and law enforcement officials in China, leading to Ma's arrest in Shenzhen in July.

“These results reflect our overall efforts to attack software piracy on a global basis,” said Scott Minden, director of Symantec's legal department. “In addition to our efforts in the U.S. and Asia, we routinely conduct investigations and take enforcement actions throughout Europe, which are yielding measurable results for protecting our customers against the security dangers posed by pirated software.”

Symantec said a year ago that it began its investigation in February 2004, seizing 100,000 copies of counterfeit CDs. Pirated trademarks found in the investigation included Norton AntiVirus, Norton SystemWorks, pcAnywhere, Norton Internet Security and Backup Exec.

Symantec also filed suit in May against eight companies accused of software piracy, seeking a total of $55 million in damages. Arcortech, mPlus and Rowcal Distribution of California, SoftwareOutlets.com and Global Impact of Florida, Logical Plus of New York, Directron.com of Texas and eDirect Software of Canada were named in the suit.