Microsoft has won a court case against a German spammer charged with forging email and making it appear to come from Microsoft's hotmail.com domain.

The regional appeals court in Karlsruhe found the person guilty of sending unsolicited mail and using Microsoft's trademark-protected Hotmail brand without the company's permission.

The spammer, whose name was not disclosed, had been distributing spam to promote his pornographic website for several months before the German court clamped down.

As part of the sentence, the convicted spammer agreed not to distribute forged email using the Hotmail brand or face a €250,000 (£170,000) fine. In addition, he must provide Microsoft with detailed information about his email promotional activities.

Microsoft views the court ruling as one way to deal with spammers in Germany in the absence of an antispam law in the country. The ruling makes the misuse of a brand name in spam a criminal offence subject to prosecution, it said.

Prior to the ruling, German spammers didn't have to worry about being prosecuted or having to pay high damage fees.