Tokyo court halts production of iMac clone
TOKYO (IDG) -- The Tokyo District Court has ordered a stop to the production and sale of Sotec's e-one PC, saying that the design of the curvy, translucent machine is similar enough to Apple Computer's iMac to "confuse" customers.
The court's preliminary injunction prevents Yokohama-based Sotec from manufacturing, selling, displaying, exporting or importing the e-one, a spokesman at the Tokyo District Court said.
Apple Japan, Apple's local subsidiary, filed a suit against Sotec last month seeking an injunction.
Judge Toshiaki Iimura of the 29th Civil Division of the Tokyo District court was quoted in a leading business daily as saying that the two personal computers are not only similar in their choice of color, material and curvature, but also in their details.
"In addition to a worry that consumers might confuse the two products, there exists a fear that customers could misconstrue the relationship between Sotec and Apple," Iimura was quoted as saying in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
Sotec started selling its cut-price Windows 98-equipped machine here in July. The e-one retails in Japan for around 130,000 yen ($1,200), about 30,000 yen less than Apple's iMac.
Toshiya Nakao, the Sotec representative in charge of the case, was out of his office all day and could not be reached for comment. Another Sotec spokesman, who wouldn't identify himself, acknowledged that the company was aware of the ruling.
Apple has filed lawsuits over similar issues in the U.S.
Apple sued eMachines last month, alleging that the company's bargain-basement eOne machine was an iMac knock-off. An Apple representative said last month that eMachines' PC and the Sotec PC are in fact the same computer.
EMachines is a joint venture between Korean PC manufacturer TriGem Computer, monitor maker Korea Data Systems, and other investors.
Apple also filed a suit against Korea's Daewoo Telecom and its joint venture Future Power on July 1, alleging that the company's bubble-shaped PC pilfered its basic design from the iMac.
Michael Drexler writes for the IDG News Service in Tokyo.
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