Pratibha Syntex, a Pithampur-based textile firm, has been directed to cough up $100,000 (`66 lakh) within a month to settle charges of using pirated software – including Microsoft and Adobe programs – in its operations.
The firm exports cloth to many commercial establishments in the United States, including Walmart.
The settlement between the company and the state of California was reached at the Los Angeles Superior Court. “Pratibha Syntex has agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution within 30 days,” said a person familiar with the development.
When asked to comment on the matter, company vice-president Ashok Jain said: “I am not in a position to comment whether the firm will be paying the amount. We are in touch with our legal advisers in the US and India. A statement will be issued tomorrow (on Wednesday).”
In 2013, the state of California had sued Pratibha Syntex for not paying licensing fees for software used in its operations, thereby gaining an unfair cost advantage in the low-margin apparel manufacturing business. According to PTI, California attorney general Kamala Harris issued a statement that charged Pratibha Syntex with engaging in illegal business practices “which placed California garment companies at a disadvantage, while hurting American software companies’ ability to develop new and innovative products”.
Other terms of the settlement prohibit Pratibha Syntex from using unlicensed software or reproducing any part of a copyrighted software program without the permission of the legitimate copyright holder. Also, Pratibha Syntex would have to draft an information technology policy statement regarding the use of licensed software and distribute it among its employees.
The Confederation of Indian Textile Industry reacted to the development by issuing a circular to all its members, urging them to use genuine software for meeting its business needs.
Pratibha Syntex’s unit at the Pithampur special economic zone manufactures yarn and fabric that are exported to several countries across the world.
(With PTI inputs)