Illegal Use of Pirated Software Meets its Harsh Punishment

2008/2/1By Harry Yang, China IP,[Copyright]

In January of 2008, Suzhou Intermediate People's Court publicly heard the civil suit on the infringement of copyrighted software by the Jingsu Viscount Traffic and Sporting Facilities Co., Ltd. (Viscount Company). The court ordered the Viscount Company to compensate the software's rightful owner, Autodesk, Inc. 54,400 yuan for economic losses, and 15,000 yuan in reimbursement to Autodesk, Inc. for legal fees. Subsequently, Jiangsu Provincial Bureau of Copyright (JPBC) also sent a decision to the Viscount Company, imposing an 800,000-yuan fine for its commercial use of pirated software. Presently in China, there is a record number of administrative punishments issued against enterprises for illegal use of pirated software.

In April of 2006, the JPBC and Taiwan Police Brigade of IP Protection both received the complaint and uncovered the Viscount Company and its operations office in Taiwan. JPBC, the local public security bureau, local industrial and commercial departments and the local copyright department of Kunshan City jointly launched the campaign. They uncovered information that the R&D department of the Viscount Company had installed unauthorized Pro-engineer 2001, Master CAM 9.1, AutoCAD 2004, AutoCAD 2005- totally six mould and 3D designing software packages in their four computers, with the aggregate market value over 2.7 million yuan. It was considered a grave breach of the Regulations on the Protection of Computer Software, as well as an infringement of the legal rights and interests of PTC, CNC, Autodesk, Inc. and other related software copyright owners.

In July 2007, Autodesk, Inc. brought the civil suit in Suzhou Intermediate People's Court against the Viscount Company for the infringement of copyrighted software and obtained the abovementioned adjudication. The separately filed action on PTC's Pro-engineer software infringement is being heard.

On December 25, 2007, the JPBC, through several judicial examinations and hearings, and in accordance with the pertinent provisions in the Copyright Law and the Regulations on the Protection of Computer Software, finally imposed a fine of 800,000 yuan on the Viscount Company and ordered it to uninstall the unauthorized softwares immediately.

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