January 6, 2010

US Software Company Sues China

Santa Barbara, California-based Cybersitter is suing the Chinese government for $2.2 billion after accusing the country of stealing its technology to block Internet access to political and religious sites in China, AFP reported.

Two Chinese companies and seven PC manufacturers are also being sued for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and conspiracy in connection with the distribution of Green Dam Youth Escort.

Cybersitter claims that the Chinese makers of Green Dam illegally copied more than 3,000 lines of code from the filtering software, and conspired with China's rulers and computer manufacturers to distribute more than 56 million copies of the pirated software throughout the country.

The computer manufacturers continued to "distribute millions of copies of Green Dam even after becoming aware that the program's content filters were stolen," according to the suit filed in federal court in Los Angeles.

Cybersitter claims the Chinese software makers broke United States laws governing economic espionage and trade secrets.

Greg Fayer, an attorney for Cybersitter, said the 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.

"American innovation is the lifeblood of the software industry," he added.

Fayer said it is vital that the fruits of those labors be protected at home and abroad.

The Chinese government ordered all computer manufacturers to bundle the Green Dam software with any computer sold in China after July 1, 2009.

The government was accused by human rights groups of using Green Dam's filters to block access to Web sites the government deemed politically undesirable.

Cybersitter is billed as the first commercially available Internet content filter software.

The company has won PC Magazine's Editor's Choice Award five times.

Fayer said the case could be "a watershed for the protection of American intellectual property internationally."

"From small companies like Cybersitter to Microsoft to motion pictures and the music industry, these are the products we have to offer the world. It is important that they be protected," he added.


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