Intellectual property rights news - China jails software counterfeiting gang
Members of a software counterfeiting ring said to have distributed about two billion dollars of Microsoft products have been jailed in China.
The country meted out its harshest ever sentence for copyright infringement when the ringleader behind an 11-strong gang was punished with a six-and-a-half-year jail term and a 1.5 million yuan ($220,000) fine.
Two other main offenders face similarly stiff sentences of five years and three and a half years for intellectual property rights violations. Others were sentenced to at least one year in prison.
Faced with international criticism that it is not doing enough to protect intellectual property rights China clearly wishes to demonstrate that it "means business" in enforcing laws on intellectual property protection.
Law scholar Li Shunde, head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Intellectual Property Research Centre, said heavier penalties were being imposed in intellectual property rights infringement cases in recent years.
In this latest case, the court in the southern city of Shenzhen heard that counterfeit copies of Windows Vista, XP and Office had been disseminated across 36 countries.
Microsoft's vice president in the Greater China Region, Fengming Liu, said, "Thanks to the actions of the Chinese government, we have seen a significant improvement in the environment for intellectual property rights in China."
Roy Crozier, head of intellectual property at JMW Solicitors, said, "Software counterfeiting is a global business without borders. JMW acts for major software developers and is experienced co-ordinating international intellectual property programmes that can tackle counterfeiting and related infringements."