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Microsoft Request Approved, ITC To Probe Imports

U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday granted a request by Microsoft to investigate imports of computer keyboards and other parts made by a Taiwanese company.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government agency on Thursday granted a request by Microsoft Corp. to investigate imports of computer keyboards and other parts made by a Taiwanese company.

The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant alleged last month that computer peripherals, such as keyboards and mice made by Primax Electronics Ltd. infringe on its patents.

Microsoft has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the import and sale of the devices.

The case will be referred to an administrative law judge who will investigate the company's complaint. The ITC said it will set a target date for completing the investigation within 45 days.

A representative of a U.S. unit of Primax, Polaris Electronics Inc., declined to comment.

Horacio Gutierrez, a Microsoft vice president, said the company filed its request with the ITC last month after trying unsuccessfully for several years to reach a patent licensing agreement with Primax.

The ITC performs economic research on trade agreements and investigates unfair trade practices. The agency has the authority to bar imports that infringe U.S. patents and trademarks.

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