The Encyclopedia of China Publishing House has won a modest $86,000 (RMB 520,000) judgment against Apple after unauthorized copies of its encyclopedia were sold on the App Store, the Beijing Times reports. The company had originally asked for more than RMB 530,000, but the award from the court came in as slightly smaller.
In 2010, the publishing house found applications on Apple’s App Store that were pirating the encyclopedia and were profiting from its sale. Apple argued that it wasn’t directly responsible for the violations, but the court held the iPhone-maker responsible since it had approved the application and profited by taking in its share of revenue from it.
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The lawsuit was first filed last year and was accepted by the Beijing’s Second Intermediate People’s Court .Apple is also facing lawsuits from a number of Chinese authors, including popular Chinese blogger and author Han Han, over similar issues of alleged copyright infringement.
Though the judgment may seem ironic to some since the Chinese market it itself notorious for flouting international intellectual property laws, it is worth noting that the country’s courts have recently been ruling in favor of the content owners. For instance, Chinese search engine Baidu has been ordered to pay RMB 80,000 ($12,700) to Han Han after his books were pirated on one of the company’s services.
Apple also faced a lawsuit in the country over the iPad trademark after ailing monitor maker Proview claimed that a deal to sell the trademark to Apple hadn’t gone through. The Cupertino, California company eventually agreed to pay $60 million to settle the dispute in July. The decision to settle may have prompted a rash of copycat lawsuits, as complaints against the Snow Leopard, Siri and FaceTime have cropped up in recent months.
“The App Store offers customers in China access to an incredible selection of over 700,000 apps created by Apple’s developer community. As an IP holder ourselves, Apple understands the importance of protecting intellectual property and when we receive complaints, as we did in this case, we respond promptly and appropriately.”
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