American Software Firm Sues Chinese Government, Computer Manufacturers

By Editor
January 06, 2010

The Green Dam Youth Escort software saga has reared its head again as an American firm has taken aim at Chinese computer manufacturers and the Chinese government in a new lawsuit in the United States.

U.S.-based Cybersitter LLC has filed a USD2.2 billion civil action in federal court in Los Angeles against the People’s Republic of China, two Chinese software makers, and seven major computer manufacturers for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, copyright infringement and conspiracy in connection with their distribution of Green Dam Youth Escort, the software promoted in 2009 by Chinese government agencies to help block access to pornographic and illegal websites.

The computer manufacturers named in the conspiracy reportedly include Sony, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, ASUSTeK, BenQ and Haier.

Cybersitter’s complaint alleges that the Chinese makers of Green Dam illegally copied over 3,000 lines of code from its own Internet content filtering software, Cybersitter, and conspired with the Chinese government and computer manufacturers to distribute over 56 million copies of the infringing software throughout China and to Chinese speakers globally. The complaint alleges that the computer manufacturers continued to distribute millions of copies of Green Dam even after they became aware that the program’s content filters were stolen from Cybersitter. The complaint also alleges that the Chinese software makers broke U.S. criminal laws governing economic espionage and misappropriation of trade secrets by stealing Cybersitter’s proprietary content filters, integrating them into Green Dam, and distributing them for the Chinese government’s benefit.

According to Cybersitter’s attorney Greg Fayer: “This 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, and it is vital that the fruits of those labors be protected at home and abroad.”

The controversial Green Dam software previously made headlines when the Chinese government issued a mandate requiring all computer manufacturers to bundle Green Dam with any computer sold in China after July 1, 2009. This mandate was soon relaxed, though parts of the new rule are apparently still in place.

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