Microsoft has been banned from selling multiple versions of its flagship Windows operating system in China after breaching a local licensing agreement.
The US software giant must not sell versions of Windows XP, 2003, 2000 or 98 software in the Asian super-economy after a Beijing court ruled the products include Chinese fonts designed by a local company.
The court said Microsoft had violated its licensing agreement with Zhongyi Electronic, which designs character fonts.
Microsoft said it plans to appeal the ruling, adding it “respects intellectual property rights” and uses the intellectual property of third parties “only when we have a legitimate right to do so”.
Zhongyi said that the agreement it signed with Microsoft allowed it to use the special fonts only in Windows 95, but that the software giant had continued to do so in subsequent versions. “By winning this case against an internationally well-known company like Microsoft, it shows that China, although still a developing country, is taking positive steps to protect intellectual property rights,” said Ling Xin Yu, Zhongyi’s lawyer.
The ruling is somewhat ironic, given the amount of piracy Microsoft and other manufacturers of operating and other technological systems face in the Chinese market.