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Indian clothing maker settles California lawsuit alleging software piracy

Kamala Harris

Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, above in February, says that Indian clothing maker Pratibha Syntex has settled a California lawsuit alleging software piracy.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said that Indian clothing maker Pratibha Syntex has agreed to a settlement for allegedly pirating software.

The $100,000 settlement marks the first time a state has secured an enforceable judgment against an international company for these kinds of violations, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

Harris sued Pratibha in 2013, alleging that it did not pay licensing fees for software from companies including Microsoft Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc., which are integral to its business of making and importing clothing to the U.S. That gave the company “a significant cost advantage” in the apparel business, where profit margins are notoriously thin, the statement said.

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“Pratibha Syntex engaged in illegal practices that placed California garment companies at a disadvantage,” Harris said in the statement.

The settlement prohibits the company from using or reproducing unlicensed software without permission from the copyright holder. Pratibha also has to finish four complete audits of its software and fix any violations within 45 days.

Under the settlement, Pratibha didn’t admit violating the state’s unfair competition laws.

California has lost nearly 400,000 manufacturing and technology jobs over the last decade to countries with high rates of piracy, the statement said, citing a 2011 study by the Orange County Business Council. That resulted in California losing $1.6 billion from the economy and $700 million in tax revenue, the study said.

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