This is the first time that a company in Vietnam has sued another company for using illegal computer software.
At a press conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on December 18, representatives of Microsoft Vietnam and Lac Viet Company said the Gold Long John company has been using a large amount of software valued at about VND1 billion (US$45,000).
Inspectors from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Public Security in June found the unlicensed software from Lac Viet and Microsoft on 69 computers. The software was being used for business purposes.
A representative from Gold Long John signed the inspection report, which said the company infringed intellectual property laws.
"The complaints were sent to the People's Court of the southern province of Dong Nai where Gold Long John is located", said Ha Than, General Manager of Lac Viet.
Than said that his company and Microsoft finished "all the necessary steps, such as negotiating" but there have been "no effective co-operation".
"We will follow the court case to the end and there will be no withdrawal," he said. "As a Vietnamese software company badly hurt by the illegal use of our products, we hope that our legitimate interests will be protected by the law."
Vu Xuan Thanh, Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, said even though there was previous lawsuits on copyright issues, this was the first case that dealt with illegal use of software.
Lawsuits are the most effective method against piracy, he said, adding that companies should use the courts to fight piracy.
Battling the issue through administrative channels was not sufficient, and lawsuits were a better solution, he said.
Tarun Sawney, Senior Director of Software Alliance's Anti-piracy in Asia-Pacific, said "This is an effective way to help mitigate software piracy. With this first court trial in Vietnam, we hope that the tribunal, along with the authorities' implementation of the Penal Code in the near future, will add an effective channel to help achieve our set target of reducing the piracy rate in Vietnam to 70% by 2018."
Gold Long John Dong Nai International produces footwear materials for major brand names.The company, based in Nhon Trach 2 Industrial Park in Dong Nai Province, employs 200 people.
A representative of Gold Long John Dong Nai said that it has already paid a fine. "We have not heard anything about the lawsuit and are still waiting for an official announcement from authorities," the representative said.