The Amos Partnership has been forced to hand over US$12,000 (£6,500) to the Business Software Alliance (BSA) after being caught using illegal software.
The London-based practice reached an out-ofcourt settlement with the alliance, which has been clamping down on software violations by architecture firms, it emerged this week.
The BSA, which represents the world's largest software firms, has been offering rewards of up to £1,000 for information leading to a successful prosecution.
Practices that have already reached settlements include Sussex-based Caroe & Partners (AJ 20.11.03).
The BSA's regional manager for Northern Europe, Siobhan Carroll, said that architects and engineers were among the worst offenders, accounting for nearly a third of all prosecutions in 2003.
'Looking across Europe, architecture and engineering firms are the major offenders, ' Carroll said.
She added that the BSA is keen to help practices comply and will not prosecute when companies illegally using software come forward for advice.
The Amos Partnership, which hit the headlines last August when it replaced Allies and Morrison on its Grosvenor Dock scheme, was brought to book last year following a tip-off from a member of staff.
However, director Malcolm Wright claimed the company was unaware its licences had expired.
'We were made aware of the unfortunate situation, which we rectified, ' he said.
For help on software compliance visit the BSA's website at www. justasksam. co. uk