Microsoft, Autodesk sue Chinese company over pirated software

The two U.S. IT vendors are bringing an unnamed Chinese company to court in Foshan, Guangdong, for software piracy and demanding 8 million RMB (US$1.2 million) in damages.

Microsoft and Autodesk are suing an unnamed Chinese company for piracy and demanding 8 million RMB (US$1.2 million) as compensation.

A report Tuesday said a court in Foshan City in the Guangdong province announced legal proceedings initiated by Microsoft and Autodesk over copyright infringement had begun. Both companies alleged the unnamed Chinese company was using various pirated versions of Microsoft Windows desktop operating system (OS), Microsoft Windows Server OS, Microsoft Office, and Autocad software.

Microsoft was unable to name the Chinese company in the lawsuit as it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

The Chinese company was found to operate more than 100 computers and servers with installed pirated software by Microsoft and Autodesk. However, it said it did not willfully infringe the copyright of both companies as the software were preinstalled by the seller of the equipment and considered as part of the "after-sales support".

The U.S. vendors argued the Chinese company was looking to profit from using the pirated software. The Chinese company had published a job advertisement looking for candidates with skills in Windows, Office, and CAD, which proved the software were not covered under "fair use", they added.

Piracy is widely regarded to be rampant in China, but the government recently launched various campaigns to stamp out copyright infringement . In mid-November, a Chinese official said the country's poor IP (intellectual property) protection image had been "distorted" by Western media  which did not take into consideration the government's effots to combat piracy.

Microsoft also has been ramping up its effort to combat software piracy . However, an analyst believed Redmond's anti-piracy moves were not simply an attempt to recoup its losses but were part of a wider marketing strategy the vendor had rolled out in China .