BEIJING - Two Chinese IT companies were brought to court on Thursday for using a number of pirated Microsoft software packages in their offices, and the US company is seeking at least 10 million yuan (1.59 million US dollars) in compensation.
Microsoft accused Beijing Ming Wan Zhi Da Technology Co., Ltd. and Ming Wan Information Technology Co., Ltd., which jointly operate two websites and offer e-commerce solutions to small and medium-sized companies, of installing pirated Microsoft Windows, Office, Visual Studio and other software packages on the companies' computers, according to the lawyer representing Microsoft in the case.
The two IT companies are based in Beijing and run branches across the country.
The 10 million yuan in compensation sought by Microsoft includes economic losses the US company estimates it incurred related to the case. But the claim was vigorously refuted by the defense lawyer in court, citing miscalculation in the estimate, court officials said.
Microsoft also demanded the two companies issue a statement of apology in the country's flagship newspaper the People's Daily, the lawyer said.
The judge of Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court ruled that the court needs to hear the case in a second trial due to stark differences in the two sides' estimates of economic losses.
Chinese authorities have begun to crack down on the rampant use of pirated software in recent years. All levels of government agencies are required to use copyrighted software by the end of 2012.
Copyrighted software has already been installed in central government departments, and it will be popularized among local authorities in 2012, an official with the Ministry of Commerce said in December last year.
Many businesses have also begun to phase out pirated software in their offices over fears of being targeted in rising intellectual property lawsuits in the country.