Eight foreign-owned companies were found using unlicensed software valued at more than 13.5 billion VND (643 million USD) by an inter-ministerial team that carried out a month-long inspection.

All eight are manufacturing companies and four of them are Taiwanese while the rest are from mainland China, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, and Thailand.

The illegal software included products owned by Adobe, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, Lac Viet, and Microsoft.

Tran Van Minh, deputy chief inspector of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, Tourism, said: "A huge number of illegal software was found during the raids on the eight large companies. Over a thousand copies of unlicensed software were found in 493 private computers and were being used by the companies for their business operations."

Despite having sufficient financial resources and a good understanding of the law, the eight had chosen to violate others' intellectual property rights for their own benefit, he said.

According to a report by the inspection team, company managers have signed the inspection minutes admitting their infringements and pledging to remove all the illegal software from their computers and legalise all their software.

Minh said that over the coming weeks and months the team would ensure compliance by all businesses using illegal software after having been educated during the world IP Day campaign.

The inspectors were drawn from the ministries of Culture, Sports, Tourism – which oversees the IP regime — and Public Security and the inspection followed a World Intellectual Property Day awareness campaign in March.

The Government has been an advocate for strong intellectual property rights protection as evidenced by the issuance of Directive No 36/2008/CT-TTg in 2008 against violation of IP laws.-VNA