Apple, Sotec Settle Copyright Infringement Case

Apple Computer Inc. and Japan's Sotec Co. have settled out of court a lawsuit brought against the local company by Apple over the design of its "e-one" personal computer.

The settlement, detailed by Sotec in a statement, sees the company promising to end production, sales and exports of the translucent blue e-one and pay Apple 10 million yen (US$95,200).

Apple in August last year filed a suit at the Tokyo District Court claiming Sotec had copied the design of its popular iMac computer for its e-one. [See "Apple Sues Japan's Sotec Over iMac Design," Aug. 26, 1999.] The e-one is a low-priced Windows-based PC, launched by Sotec in Japan in July with a price tag of 128,000 yen.

Two months after the lawsuit was filed, the court decided the e-one, with its translucent blue, rounded case, looked similar enough to the iMac to cause confusion among customers and ordered Sotec to halt sales of the machine. [See "Tokyo Court Halts Production of iMac Clone," Sept. 21, 1999.]Sotec responded by changing the color of the case to silver, a move which did not prompt further action by Apple. Its e-one 500 "all-in-one Internet PC," which sports the silver case, is available with an Intel Corp. Celeron 500MHz processor for 128,000 yen.

Apple Japan can be contacted in Tokyo at +81-3-5334-2000 or at http://www.apple.co.jp/. Sotec, based in Yokohama, can be reached at +81-45-224-3300 or at http://www.sotec.co.jp/.

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