California Alleges 2 Clothing Firms Used Pirated Software

California Attorney General Kamala Harris accused two foreign apparel makers in lawsuits of gaining an unfair competitive advantage over American companies by using pirated software in clothing production.

Harris, in a state court complaint filed yesterday in Los Angeles, said Pratibha Syntex Ltd. of India and Ningbo Beyond Home Textile Co. Ltd. of China violated California’s unfair competition law by failing to pay licensing fees for software manufactured by companies including Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp.

The unpaid fees gave Pratibha Syntex and Ningbo Beyond Home Textile a “significant cost advantage in the low-margin business of apparel manufacturing,” Harris said in an e-mailed statement. The suits target companies whose “unlawful actions are eroding California’s garment industry and placing California companies who legally pay for computer software at a disadvantage.”

Since 2010, units of Ningbo have shipped approximately 713,000 pounds of apparel products into California, while Pratibha has shipped more than 19,000 pounds into the state, according to the statement.

California’s apparel manufacturers, which are largely based in Los Angeles County, employed more than 580,000 people last year and generated more than $5 billion in annual revenue since 1990, according to the statement.

Representatives of Pratibha Syntex and Ningbo Beyond Home Textile didn’t immediately respond to e-mails yesterday seeking comment on the complaints.

The cases are California v. Ningbo Beyond Home Textile Co., BC499771, and California v. Pratibha Syntex Ltd., BC499751, California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles.

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