Company held liable for copyright infringement after employee installs unlicensed software

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by | March 2, 2023

SINGAPORE – A Singapore company was sued for more than $400,000 by an American software company, after its employee installed an unauthorised version of the latter’s software on an unused laptop he found at the workplace.

In its suit, Siemens Industry Software contended that the defendant, medical device manufacturer Inzign, was both directly and vicariously liable for copyright infringement arising from the actions of its employee.

On Wednesday, the High Court found Inzign only vicariously liable for the acts of its employee Paing Win, and ordered the company to pay $30,574 in damages to Siemens.

Siemens had claimed $259,511 in damages, comprising notional licence fees for the modules allegedly used by Mr Win, as well as additional damages of $200,000 to punish Inzign for its “reckless and flagrant” conduct.

But Justice Dedar Singh Gill said that the $259,511 sum was excessive and that Inzign’s conduct did not warrant additional damages.

The case involves Siemens’ NX software, which can create computerised models of a product, develop physical products from these models, and put them to use with little or no physical testing.

Users typically purchase licences only for the modules specifically applicable to their businesses.


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