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Apple wins ePower iMac-alike ban

US District Court Judge reckons consumers will be confused by similar machines

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Apple has been granted an injunction against Future Power and Daewoo preventing the companies' making, distributing or selling their ePower PC in the US. The Mac maker set its lawyers on the companies back in August when it alleged the ePower's design is a rip-off of Apple's own iMac.

The ban follows Apple's request for a preliminary injunction against Daewoo and Future Power made at a hearing on 25 October. Now the case will move on to whether the ePower does in fact violate Apple's intellectual property rights and if so, whether Daewoo and Future Power should pay damages.

US District Judge Jeremy Fogel said the similarity between the ePower's colour scheme and that of the iMac would cause confusion among consumers.

However, it's clear he believes this is purely a colour-scheme issue, and doesn't take in the physical similarities between the two computers. "There are many ways in which modern lines, bright colors and translucent plastics might be combined in the design of a personal computer," Fogel ruled. "Any of these combinations is available to Apple's competitors, so long as the combination selected is not so similar in appearance to the iMac as to infringe on Apple's trade dress rights."

This is the second premliminary injunction Apple has won against an alleged iMac-cloner. Back in September, it obtained a court order on Japanese distributor Sotec preventing it from shipping eMachines' eOne PC. Sotec is currently shipping a version of the eOne with a rather less iMac-like colour scheme.

Apple also launched a suit in the US against eMachines and its parent companies, Korean Data Systems and Trigem. The US Federal Court has yet to issue an injunction in this case. ®

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