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Microsoft ordered to halt Win XP sales in China

IP champion accused of IP theft

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Microsoft has been ordered to stop selling Windows XP in China after a court ruled that certain fonts in the operating system infringe on a Chinese firm's intellectual property.

On Monday, Beijing's 1st Intermediate People's Court decided that Microsoft had overstepped a deal with Zhongyi Electronics to include the company's Chinese fonts in Windows 95 by also slipping them into eight other versions of Windows without permission. The alleged font-pas includes Windows 95, 98, 2000, and XP — but not more recent releases: Vista and Windows 7.

The court has ordered Microsoft and its China-based ops to immediately stop producing and selling the infringing operating systems, according to the English-language version of state television broadcaster, CCTV.

When asked for comment, Microsoft said via prepared written statement that it will appeal the decision and believes its license agreement with Zhongyi covered in full their use of the technology.

According to the company, the ruling will not go into effect until it is affirmed by an appeals court.

The Bejing court rejected additional claims from Zhongyi that Microsoft was equally neglectful in paying licensing fees for its flagship "Zhemga" product, which allows users to enter Chinese characters using Western keyboards.

Microsoft having been declared guilty of IP theft in China is of course rather cutting, as the company spends much of its time in the country championing its own intellectual property. This August, Microsoft boasted that a Chinese court jailed two men for three and a half years and two accomplices for two years for distributing a bootleg copy of Windows XP. In fact, the company quite regularly announces Chinese IP piracy busts.

Not this one, though. Strange. ®

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