'Tis the season for intellectual property infringement litigation -- or so it seems. I know I've written and read about several in the last few months. There's the Apple, Nokia patent dispute, or the suit the Software Freedom Law Center has filed against several consumer electronics makers regarding violation of the GNU General Public License v. 2.
Then, of course, there was i4i vs. Microsoft, which stunned everyone because the tiny software shop beat Microsoft at its own game. Not long ago, a judge ruled that Microsoft had to stop selling versions of Word that included XML features Thursday I read about a similar David vs. Goliath-type intellectual property case. This time, a small software company is taking on not just a global business, but the People's Republic of China.
A Bloomberg story published in BusinessWeek reports that Cybersitter filed suit in federal court in California alleging that China lifted 3,000 lines of code from a program designed to block pornography and violent Web content and used it in the Green Dam Youth Escort Web filtering program. The Chinese government is promoting the program on computers made by Lenovo, Acer and others that are sold in the country.
The suit alleges China and computer makers engaged in a conspiracy to steal trade secrets, unfair competition and copyright infringement, and it seeks $2.2 billion in damages.
Greg Fayer, an attorney representing Cybersitter, released the following statement:
This lawsuit aims to strike a blow against the all-too-common practices of foreign software manufacturers and distributors who believe that they can violate the intellectual property rights of small American companies with impunity without being brought to justice in U.S. courts.
The story says Chinese officials would not comment on the case.