Microsoft Stands Accused of Patent Infringement
    2009-03-23 12:04:22     China Daily      Web Editor: Cao Jie
While Microsoft aggressively fights software piracy in China, the US conglomerate is also involved in an intellectual property right violation lawsuit with a Chinese company.
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While Microsoft aggressively fights software piracy in China, the US conglomerate is also involved in an intellectual property right violation lawsuit with a Chinese company.

The software giant suffered a strike in late February when the State Intellectual Property Office rejected its invalidation appeal to the patent in the dispute, in which Microsoft was sued by a local information technology company.

"The judgment (No 12927), which stands our patent's validity, not only proves the stability of our invention, but also sticks up for our company's rights and interests," said Wang Jianbo, chairman of China E-Commerce Info-Tech Co Ltd (CECIT), the plaintiff.

Information on the State Intellectual Property Office's website indicates that the patent in question covers "an XML-based RSS (Really Simple Syndication) information interactive processing approach", which uses RSS to syndicate XML-based files from blogs, websites and other Internet platforms.

E-commerce platform provider CECIT developed the processing approach to use RSS in its trade portal Free Trade Fair in 2005.

"We have applied for the invention patent of the RSS-related technology since 2005 and got the patent certificate (No ZL 2005 1 0022721.3) from State Intellectual Property Office in December 2007," said Wang.

Xi'an, Shaanxi-based CECIT sued Microsoft last August, accusing the company of patent infringement.

The company said Microsoft uses an XML-based RSS information interactive processing approach in the software operating system Windows Vista, which has been popularly sold in China as a successor of Windows XP, without a license agreement.

The Xi'an Intermediate People's Court accepted the case and held the first court hearing in October.

"Microsoft China appeared in court but they denied the violation," said Wang.

To Wang's surprise, his company received notice from the Patent Re-examination Board of the State Intellectual Property Office that Microsoft had applied an invalidity appeal to CECIT's RSS-related patent in September.

"We immediately organized a team including experts in law and technology to actively prepare the defense presentation," said Wang. "Our evidence and explanation gained the recognition from the board in November and received the final decision statement in February."

However, Microsoft still insisted on its innocence on the patent infringement dispute.

In November, the Wall Street Journal reported that an executive of Microsoft who refused to be named said the company respects intellectual property in China but denies the patent dispute with CECIT, without further elaborating.

The case is still in the evidence-collecting phase.

Wang told China Business Weekly that he and his company will not compromise on the patent dispute and will follow through with the complaint.

"We by now only required Microsoft to stop the violation and halt the distribution of Vista with RSS function within China in our petition, although the IT magnate has made huge profits from the software with our patent," added Wang. "The international company should also respect the local laws as well as local rivals' intellectual property rights."

This is the second time that Microsoft has been troubled by a patent dispute appealed by Chinese companies.

Last year, Beijing-based Zhongyi Electronic Ltd brought Microsoft to court, accusing the US firm of using its inputting technology and fonts in Windows operating systems without commercial agreement for a decade.

The firm later applied for a patent review committee under State Intellectual Property Office to invalidate Zhongyi's patent but was also rejected.

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