China court awards Microsoft record damages in software piracy suit

[JURIST] A Shangai court ruled Thursday that a Chinese insurance company is liable to software company Microsoft [corporate website; JURIST news archive] for using illegal copies of its products, ordering the insurance company to pay Microsoft USD $318,000 in damages. The $318,000 awarded against Dazhong Insurance is the largest amount of damages [People's Daily report] ever ordered by a Chinese court in a software piracy suit. This was Microsoft's first major anti-piracy lawsuit in China, where last November a court ruled that Microsoft had infringed on intellectual property [JURIST report] of a Chinese company.

Microsoft has been a party to many legal proceedings outside the US in recent years. In December, the European Commission (EC) [official website] reached a settlement [JURIST report] with Microsoft over claims that it violated European anti-trust laws by packing its Internet Explorer web browser with new copies of Windows. Last September, the Seoul Central District Court found Microsoft in violation [JURIST report] of South Korea's antitrust laws for bundling software programs with its Windows operating system. The court found the company's bundling practice to be in violation of fair competition rules and disruptive to the market. This was the second suit within a few months in which Microsoft was found liable for breach of South Korean antitrust laws. This was the second suit within a few months in which Microsoft was found liable for breach of South Korean antitrust laws. Last June, the same court ruled that Microsoft violated antitrust laws [JURIST report] by packaging software with its Windows operating system, also dismissing requests for damages from two Korean software firms on the grounds that the damages were not sufficiently linked to Microsoft's conduct.

 

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