Precedent setting Chinese lawsuit filed against Symantec

A Chinese legal professional has started a lawsuit against Symantec for the collapse of his PC following a problematic anti-virus update from the firm last month. Liu Shihui, a solicitor based on Southern Guangdong Province, is suing Symantec for 1,644 yuan - a shade over £100 - for losses caused by the automatic update of Norton Anti-Virus.

According to newswire reports, the update, which was issued on May 18, identified two critical Windows XP files as potential malware and deleted them, causing havoc for millions of Chinese PC users.

The case, thought to be the first of its type, is being viewed as precedent setting for China, now a major PC marketplace, and could open the floodgates for compensation by large numbers of Chinese PC users.

Phil Higgins, a senior partner with Brookcourt Solutions, the value- added systems integrator and solutions provider, said the case is unlikely to succeed because of Symantec's limited warranty.

"Obviously I'm no expert in Chinese law, but here in the West, an action of this type is unlikely to succeed because of the warranty conditions that IT vendors normally apply to their software," he said.

"Had he purchased his software from an authorised reseller, rather than going direct, as appears to be the case here, he could have approached the reseller for support. Rather than being rebuffed, any good reseller would do their utmost to support the client and assist in remedying this unfortunate situation," he added.

"This is a classic illustration of the need to source IT products through a competent local reseller, rather than direct from the vendor. That way you can ensure the best possible levels of support when things go wrong, as they clearly have in this case," he explained.