On Monday, November 16th, Beijing’s No.1 Intermediate People’s Court ordered Microsoft to pull some versions of Windows off of the Chinese market for violation of Intellectual Property rights. According to the court, Microsoft exceeded the scope of its licensing agreement with Chinese software company Zhongyi by using certain Chinese character fonts in Window’s 98, 2000, 2003, and Windows XP. Microsoft plans to appeal, claiming that its licensing agreement was not only for Windows 1995.
The suit comes after extensive pressure from the United States and European Union for China to enforce intellectual property rights on behalf of companies like Microsoft. Michael Vella, the head of China litigation for Morrison & Foerster, LLP sees this as the beginning of a trend in which Chinese companies will take their own IP claims to court.
The injunction is unlikely to affect Microsoft’s long-term business goals since roughly 80% of Microsoft’s operating systems in China were pirated from Microsoft in the first place. Chinese courts are, of course, working to prevent this piracy as well. In fact, a Chinese court recently sent four bootleggers to jail for selling illicit versions of Windows 7 in advance of its launch last month.
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