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Microsoft's intellectual property rights upheld

PR own goal as Russian headmaster fined
Mon May 07 2007, 16:45
THE CASE against a headmaster, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has called "utter nonsense", has resulted in the bloke being fined half of his salary for violating Microsoft's intellectual property rights.

Alexander Ponosov was found guilty of violating Microsoft's property rights by allowing pupils to use 12 computers with unlicensed copies of Microsoft Windows and Office software.

The licences were delivered with the computers by a Microsoft partner and Ponosov said that he had no way of knowing that they were fake copies. However it is unlikely that anyone in Microsoft will be happy about its victory over this particular pirate.

The Russian media has portrayed Ponosov as a hero in a David-and-Goliath battle against the legal system and petty international corporations.

Putin had called the case "utter nonsense" and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev even asked Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to intercede on the teacher's behalf. So bad was the PR fall-out that Vole protested that it has had no part in the prosecution which was bought by the Russian authorities.

Initially the court chucked out the case because it thought the losses were inconsequential. But Ponosov appealed because he had not been cleared of the charge. The prosecutors also appealed. Ponosov said he would appeal against the fine.

More here. µ


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