MS loses patent battle against Chinese software firm

Dylan Bushell-Embling
18 Nov 2009
00:00

Microsoft has been ordered to stop selling versions of Windows older than Vista in China, after losing a patent battle with a Beijing software firm.

the Register

said

Zhongyi had claimed that in a 1995 agreement, Microsoft had licensed the rights to use the fonts for Windows 95, but had then incorporated them into eight other operating systems - from Windows 98 to Windows XP - without authorization.

Much of the legal argument in the two-and-a-half-year court case was over the interpretation of the word “or” in the phrase “or any other Microsoft product”, according to Sina.

Microsoft had argued that the contract had implicitly covered later versions of Windows on the grounds that as its operating system evolved it was required to provide continued support for the fonts and other software.

The court rejected an additional claim that Microsoft was behind on license payments for the use of Zhongyi's core product, Zhengma, which allows users to input Chinese characters via a western keyboard.

The ruling means Microsoft must stop selling Chinese language editions of the second edition of Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft has announced it plans to appeal the ruling. A Zhongyi representative told the Wall Street Journal that the company was debating whether to lodge an appeal of its own.

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