Microsoft Clashes with Japan FTC

In the wake of a warning by Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), Microsoft executives in that country have issued a warning of their own: The company will file a complaint with the Japanese FTC and reject the warning.


On Monday, the Japanese FTC issued a thirteen page report charging Microsoft with unfair licensing practices. According to the Japanese FTC, Microsoft’s licenses prevent licensees in Japan from pursuing legal action if the software giant infringes on their patents. The FTC urged Microsoft to drop that provision in its licenses, and gave the company until July 26 to comply.


Microsoft has no interest in complying, however. "We respectfully disagree with the conclusions reached by the JFTC at this stage of the process, and will avail ourselves of the mechanism set out in the law and regulations to seek a review of this decision," the company wrote in a statement. "We look forward to explaining the operation of this provision in more detail during the next stage of this process before the JFTC. We believe that the provision at issue fairly balances \[intellectual property\] protection and the need to create a stable environment for the development of the IT industry by avoiding disruptive IP disputes. The industry and consumers have benefited from this stability, and IP owners have always been empowered to raise and exercise their rights in a reasonable manner."


Microsoft will likely formally reply to the JFTC by the July 26 deadline,  after which time the case will require hearings that could last up to two or three years. The first hearings will begin in late September or early October.

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