Japan's Sotec caves in to Apple over iMac-alike PC

Agrees out of court to pay damages, cease selling offending eOne 433

Apple today ended its legal battle with Sotec after the Japanese PC distributor agreed to cough up Y10 million ($94,000) in damages and to stop making, selling and exporting eMachines' eOne 433. The Mac maker launched its lawsuit against Sotec late last August. It claimed the eOne infringed Apple's copyright through its remarkable similarity to the iMac, primarily its duo-tone blue'n'white styling, built-in monitor design. On 20 September, Apple Japan won a temporary injunction blocking the manufacture, distribution and export of the eOne in Japan. Sotec produces the computer under licence from Korean-owned eMachines, itself the subject of a 'trade dress' suit from Apple. Following the 20 September judgement, Sotec unveiled an alternative version of the eOne with a single-colour silver shell. The company continued to state that Apple's case has no merit, and indeed it was trotting out that same line today -- a spokesman said Sotec had agreed to settle with Apple solely in order to get the block on sales lifted. Still, it's not much of a victory for Apple. Sotec will continue to sell the single-colour eOne -- as it has been doing since early October -- and the damages, which amount to the total sale price of fewer than 100 eOne PCs, seems a mere token payment that probably just cover's Apple's legal costs. Apple's actions against eMachines and its parent companies, and Korean manufacturer Daewoo over its Future Power subsidiary's iMac-alike, the ePower, have yet to be resolved. ®

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