• Jiji


The Tokyo District Court has ordered U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp. and its Japanese subsidiary to pay about ¥4 million in damages to a Japanese man over the company’s petition for the provisional seizure of his deposits over suspected illegal sales of Microsoft product keys, it was learned Sunday.

In the ruling, dated Dec. 3, the court concluded that Microsoft made factually inaccurate, inappropriate explanations about its business operations in Japan when it filed the petition. As a result, an excessive amount of the man’s deposits were seized, causing damage to him, the ruling said.

According to the ruling, the man, a resident of Nagano, collected product keys online to activate Microsoft’s Windows operating system and sold them on his website between 2011 and 2014.

Claiming trademark infringement, Microsoft asked the Nagano District Court in October 2014 to seize his deposits provisionally. The court granted the request and the man became unable to withdraw some ¥26.3 million, almost all of his savings.

After a complaint by the man, the Nagano court reduced the amount that needed to be seized to ¥5 million in August 2017.

The man later filed a lawsuit against Microsoft and its Japanese arm with the Tokyo District Court, claiming that he suffered damage after being left unable to withdraw deposits.

Yoshiaki Shibata, presiding judge of the Tokyo court, said Microsoft’s explanations in its petition for deposit seizure were not based on fact.

Microsoft claimed that as it sells software directly in Japan, all of the retail prices represent its profit. But the judge concluded that the explanations are inappropriate as software is actually sold through multiple subsidiaries.

Since the Nagano court decided the size of deposit seizure on the basis of Microsoft’s claim, the firm was at fault, Shibata said. He ordered the software giant to pay damages.

Meanwhile, the Nagano court has ordered the man to pay ¥5.5 million over trademark infringement.

The public relations department of Microsoft’s Japanese subsidiary declined to comment on the court order.

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