By  on February 4, 2013

BEIJING — An innovative intellectual property rights lawsuit against garment makers in China and India is causing some consternation in the business here, with industry insiders and analysts wondering whether it is the start of a tough new trend.

On Jan. 24, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed lawsuits against two large apparel companies — one in Ningbo, China, the other in India — over alleged unfair trade practices. Harris’ claims focus on a new lever: the companies’ use of pirated, unlicensed software in conducting their business. By not paying for properly licensed computer operating systems and critical software, the suit says, the companies built an unfair trade advantage over homegrown companies in California.

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